Figures associated with President Trump have been charged with everything from lying to the government to violating federal campaign finance law to just about every financial crime imaginable. Add trafficking child pornography to the list.
George Nader, a Middle East fixer who advised the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates and whose connections to Trump drew the attention of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was apprehended on Monday and indicted on federal child pornography charges. According to federal prosecutors, he was arrested upon landing at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York and charged with “transporting visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.”
Child pornography isn’t a new interest for the 60-year-old Nader. In 1991, he was convicted in the same federal court in eastern Virginia on the same charge. Just over a decade later in 2003, Nader was convicted in the Czech Republic on 10 counts of sexually abusing minors. Nader was also charged in a 1985 case involving a shipment of Dutch magazines depicting naked adolescent boys, but the charges were ultimately dropped.
Nevertheless, the Lebanese American businessman was able to worm his way into Trump’s orbit, particularly during the transition following the 2016 election. In December 2016, he attended a Trump Tower meeting that featured Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, the latter of whom Nader was advising.
I wouldn't recommend reading the Nader affidavit (https://t.co/XrfNEDDMCG), but it confirms that the charges unsealed today arise from files on iphones seized at IAD on Jan. 17, 2018, which is when the Special Counsel team reportedly stopped him on his way to Mar-a-Lago. pic.twitter.com/53Jsb1UaWX
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 3, 2019
Nader’s name appears more than 100 times in the partially redacted version of Special Counsel Mueller’s final report released in April. According to the report, a Russian businessman with close connections to President Vladimir Putin contacted Nader after Trump’s election victory to help arrange a meeting with members of Trump’s transition team. The report states that Nader orchestrated a meeting in the Seychelles in January 2017 between the Kremlin-connected oligarch, Kirill Dmitriev, and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater who had ties to the Trump campaign. (Prince’s sister, Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s education secretary.)
After Trump’s election, Nader also worked with a Republican fundraiser and Trump supporter named Elliott Broidy on an elaborate public affairs effort to shape the Trump administration’s foreign policy in the Middle East. As Rolling Stone previously reported, Nader and Broidy pushed Trump to be more critical of the tiny but wealthy Persian Gulf state of Qatar while moving closer to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. (A lawyer for Broidy has said that his work with Nader was not lobbying, adding that his clients “has never agreed to work for, been retained or compensated by, nor taken direction from any foreign government directly or indirectly for any interaction with the United States government, ever.”) At the same time, Broidy was also seeking business deals with Middle Eastern leaders for his private defense companies. Broidy and Nader were on the cusp of closing a major deal with UAE when Nader was stopped by federal agents at Dulles Airport in 2018. He sat for “multiple” interviews with Mueller’s office, according to the special counsel’s final report.
Nader faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 40 years in prison If convicted of Monday’s charge.