The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

George Nader, key witness in Mueller probe, pleads guilty to child sex charges

George Nader, in 1998. (AP)

George Nader, a key witness in the special-counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, admitted Monday to bringing a 14-year-old boy to the United States for sex and to possessing child pornography.

A wealthy Lebanese American businessman with long-standing political influence in Washington and the Middle East, Nader faces at least a decade in federal prison after his guilty plea in federal court in Alexandria, Va.

While the charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years, prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia agreed to recommend the mandatory minimum of 10 years. Sentencing is set for April 10.

Prosecutors also agreed that Nader, 60, a dual citizen, can ask to leave the country immediately after his prison sentence is complete, rather than serve probation.

He already has a conviction in the same court for transporting child pornography in 1991, for which he served six months in prison. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped new charges of transporting child pornography and obscene materials, and he will not be charged for similar conduct in the Eastern District of New York or in Washington.

Nader still faces charges in Washington federal court of conspiring to funnel illegal campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.

As an adviser to the leadership of the United Arab Emirates, Nader met several times with officials and associates of President Trump during the early days of the administration. He helped set up a January 2017 meeting between Trump associate Erik Prince and a Russian official close to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin that was closely scrutinized by then-special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

While Nader was being interviewed by the special-counsel team about that outreach, agents found child pornography on his phone and referred it to others in the FBI for investigation.

Nader arranged for the 14-year-old to travel from the Czech Republic to Nader’s Washington home in February 2000, and the boy stayed in the country for about a month.

Not long after, according to his attorneys, Nader went on to serve as a contractor with the Defense Department and an adviser on Middle East policy for the George W. Bush administration.

Law enforcement got a tip about the boy two years later, but Nader had left the country. In 2003 he was convicted in the Czech Republic for sexual contact with minor boys.

According to Czech court documents, he paid at least five teenage boys, four of whom were under 15, to engage in sex acts. Nader enticed the boys with “money, jewelry, mobile telephones, clothing, care and housing,” according to the court record, and took some to Prague’s annual St. Matthew’s Fair.

The documents say he took one boy, who was at least 15 and facing possible time in a Czech juvenile detention center, to the United States and gave him housing, food and spending money in exchange for sexual acts. The Virginia case involves a different child.

In court, one of Nader’s current attorneys described the 2003 conviction as “having a relationship with two young men two years under the age of consent.” The age of consent in the Czech Republic is 15.

Nader was sentenced to a year in Czech prison. He didn’t return to the United States until 2009.

He maintains that the images of children found on his phone during the Mueller investigation were not child pornography. But he admitted that in late 2012, while in New York, he received an email that included child pornography.

The man who sent the email will probably be charged in California, according to people familiar with the case. His name is redacted in the public court documents.

DOJ says neo-Nazi group used ‘swatting’ to target officials, journalists, church

Appeals court upholds temporary ruling barring discharge of HIV-positive service members

‘We got all the guns.’ A woman bought them in Va.; her boyfriend sold them in Md. and the District.

Local newsletters: Local headlines (8 a.m.) | Afternoon Buzz (4 p.m.)

Like PostLocal on Facebook | Follow @postlocal on Twitter | Latest local news