Salahi lawyer: Fake watch was gift from brother

The Reliable Source
Copyright 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009; 5:41 PM

Remember the watch that Tareq Salahi handed over in court to satisfy a debt to a landscaper? The one that turned out to be a cheap knock-off? His lawyer now says it was a gift from Salahi's brother. "It is what it is," David W. Silek told our colleague James Hohmann on Friday. "It was a gift to him, and he thought it was real." Silek was back at the Warren County Court House on Friday, representing the White House gatecrasher in a case against a man who owes money to Salahi. (Salahi didn't need to show up -- and didn't). ?? After his brief court appearance, Silek told reporters outside the courtroom that he was stunned when he learned a jeweler deemed the watch a phony and valued it at $100. The Salahis brought a certified check to pay the roughly $2,000 they owed instead. "I find it surprising that you could look at it and immediately see it was fake," Silek said. Tareq's brother Ismail Salahi, a Florida-based doctor, could not be reached for comment Friday. Shortly after the White House incident, he told local reporters he hadn't spoken to his brother in five years, and that while he was "shocked" by the episode, he wasn't surprised: "I don't definitely put it past him and his wife to do something like this." (The Washington Post has left several message for Ismail Salahi in recent weeks but he has not responded.) Silek, a Manassas-based attorney who has represented the Salahis on a range of cases since 2002, said he'd never seen or heard of the exclusive Patek Philippe brand, whose watches can cost more than $15,000, until his client offered it up as a payment plan . Silek said he needed to search for the brand's name on Google to learn more about it. ?? Right now, that fake watch is sitting on Silek's desk. ?? "It belongs to my clients," Silek said. "They have to come retrieve it." ??

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