A Middle East expert and analyst who consulted with the Trump administration and was questioned by investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller was convicted on a federal child pornography charge in 1991, prison records obtained by POLITICO show.
George Nader, 58, was involved in several foreign policy meetings during the Trump transition and at the White House last year.
Nader received a six-month sentence from a federal court in Northern Virginia in 1991 on a felony charge of transporting sexually explicit materials in foreign commerce, according to records from the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
U.S. District Court Judge Claude Hilton also imposed a $2,000 fine on Nader, the records show.
Details of the Virginia case have not been previously reported, but it was known that Nader faced a similar charge in federal court in Washington in 1984 involving allegations of importing from the Netherlands magazines depicting nude boys. A judge dismissed those charges after ruling that the search warrant issued for Nader’s home was invalid.
The Associated Press reported on Thursday that Nader was convicted in the Czech Republic in 2002 of 10 cases of sexually abusing minors. He received a one-year prison sentence in that case, a court spokeswoman said, according to The AP.
The litany of legal troubles Nader has faced over the years could provide fodder for investigators on Mueller’s team pressing him for details on his work with the Trump transition, including a meeting at Trump Tower in December 2016 that involved President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Mohammed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. The session has attracted interest because it was not publicized at the time and reportedly took place without the knowledge of the incumbent Obama administration.
Nader also reportedly attended a meeting in January 2017 that Mueller has investigated and that involved Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin.
A lawyer for Nader, Sandeep Savla, said on Friday that people eager to undermine Nader’s credibility were trying to silence him by dredging up his past.
“This is nothing more than an orchestrated, disgusting scheme by those who are trying to intimidate Mr. Nader into silence. It won’t work,” Savla said. “Mr. Nader will continue to answer truthfully questions put to him by the special counsel.”
Prison records indicate that Nader served his sentence on the 1991 charge in a halfway house in Baltimore and completed it in June 1992.
Since the 1980s, Nader has been a regular participant in Middle East policy discussions under several administrations. In addition, he worked on negotiations to free U.S. hostages, associates said.
Nader apparently carried on as usual with his Middle East policy work during the sentence he served in 1991 and 1992. A video aired on C-SPAN in March 1992 shows him hosting a discussion in his capacity as editor of a newsletter called Middle East Insight.
News articles about the Baltimore facility where Nader apparently served his sentence indicate that at least some of the prisoners were free to come and go during the day.
Records of Nader’s conviction in the Alexandria case appear to have been sealed, although it’s unclear when that happened. At one point last week, the case was listed in an online court docket, but the entry gave no details. A court clerk said the matter was sealed. It later disappeared from the docket.
However, on Friday afternoon, court personnel indicated that they were preparing to unseal records from Nader’s case.