The Washington Post reports that George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman and a key witness in the Mueller investigation into Russian interference during the 2016 election, pleaded guilty to child sex charges on Monday. He previously pleaded not-guilty in July of 2019.
A longtime influencer of American policy, Nader has acted as a liaison between President Trump’s advisors and Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, as well as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also travelled to the White House several times through 2017 to meet with Steve Bannon, according to Politico.
Nader drew particular interest from Robert S. Mueller’s team when he was said to have organized meetings between Trump associates and emissaries of the Kremlin. Of particular concern at the time was a 2017 meeting he set up between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian official close to Vladmir Putin.
According to the Post, while the businessman was being interviewed by the special council, agents discovered child porn on his phone and alerted the FBI. Nader faces at least a decade in prison for possessing child porn and for bringing a 14-year-old boy to the United States for sex, though the charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years. In 1991, Nader was convicted in the United States for transporting child pornography, and in 2003 spent a year in a Czech Republic prison for sexual contact with a minor. According to the Post, Nader’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued the United States “did not pursue” Nader once it learned he brought a 14-year-old boy to his home in Washington, D.C. in, 2000:
Nader argued unsuccessfully that because the statute of limitations for child sex crimes was not eliminated until 2006, he could not be charged in 2019 for his behavior nearly two decades ago. His lawyers claimed the Department of Justice made that determination in 2010 and “returned or destroyed” all evidence.
“In the ensuing nine years, the Government did not pursue Mr. Nader, and encouraged his return to the United States on several occasions to testify to the Special Counsel concerning Russian interference in the 2016 election,” they wrote in a memo.
The businessman still faces charges for funneling illegal campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.