The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Man accused of posing as federal law enforcement official signals guilty plea

Arian Taherzadeh is facing charges including impersonating a federal law enforcement official

The Crossing is a luxury apartment building in the Navy Yard neighborhood of D.C. where two residents were arrested and charged with impersonating federal law enforcement officers. (Emily Davies/TWP)

A man accused of posing as a member of the U.S. Secret Service and lavishing gifts on federal agents in a luxury high-rise in downtown D.C. signaled Friday that he will plead guilty.

Arian Taherzadeh is facing charges including impersonating a federal law enforcement official. A change-of-plea hearing for him is scheduled for Aug. 1, according to a docket entry in federal court. A plea is not final until it has been accepted by a judge, and Taherzadeh could change his mind at any time until then.

His attorney could not immediately be reached.

In April, a federal grand jury indicted Taherzadeh and a man named Haider Ali after an investigation uncovered what investigators say was a ruse carried out at the Crossing, a luxury apartment complex on the D.C. waterfront. Prosecutors accused the men of falsely claiming affiliation with the Department of Homeland Security and ingratiating themselves with members of the Secret Service assigned to protect the White House and first lady Jill Biden.

Guns, drones, luxury apartments: Motive of accused police posers still unclear

Taherzadeh and Ali initially pleaded not guilty. Their defense attorneys in hearings and court filings denied the existence of a plot to infiltrate the Secret Service, saying that Taherzadeh acted out of a “desire for friendship” and that Ali believed he was working for a legitimate security company.

An attorney for Ali said Friday that there were no new developments in his client’s case and did not offer further comment.

The men have been on home detention since a federal judge released them in April, saying that prosecutors “proffered zero evidence the defendants intended to infiltrate the Secret Service for a nefarious purpose, or even that they specifically targeted the Secret Service.”

Questions still remain about the motive of the alleged ruse.

Case of duped Secret Service agents called an alarming agency breach

Taherzadeh has a history of residing in D.C. apartments under false pretenses, fronting as a member of the Department of Homeland Security to access parts of buildings that were supposed to be off-limits to residents and avoiding rent, according to interviews with several people who lived in the apartment complexes and court documents in multiple lawsuits filed against him. Taherzadeh also was known to have rooms full of police gear, security equipment and surveillance technology, according to the interviews and court filings.

At the Crossing, prosecutors said, Taherzadeh grew close to Secret Service agents who lived in the building. They said he offered gifts including drones, gun lockers and rent-free apartments to agents assigned to protect the White House complex.

The Secret Service has since said the ruse did not compromise national security but revealed vulnerabilities among its employees.

Crossing management, in emails to residents this spring, said they had enlisted the help of an advisory firm with expertise in national security to recommend improvements to their protocols.