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Trump friend and golfing partner charged with misdemeanor indecent assault

Albert Hazzouri Jr. walks into his arraignment in Scranton, Pa., on June 29, 2021.
Albert Hazzouri Jr. walks into his arraignment in Scranton, Pa., on June 29, 2021. (Courtesy of News Nation)
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A friend and golfing partner of former president Donald Trump — who gained notoriety for using that friendship to lobby Trump’s administration — was charged with indecent assault last week in Pennsylvania on allegations he groped one of his dental patients, according to court documents.

Albert Hazzouri Jr., a 65-year-old dentist from Scranton, Pa., is best known for a 2017 note he wrote Trump, using stationery from Trump’s own Mar-a-Lago Club, to push a proposal for an oversight committee on dental spending.

The note, which addressed Trump as “Dear King,” came to symbolize the way that Trump blended business with government, giving his customers and friends an audience to lobby for their private causes.

In charging documents filed last week, police said Hazzouri had groped a female patient after a dental procedure in May.

In an affidavit, Scranton Police Detective Dina Albanesi wrote that Hazzouri offered to walk the woman to her car. Then — when the two were in a stairwell — Hazzouri allegedly told the patient to “get on his back.” The woman told him no, police said.

“Hazzouri backed up into her, wrapped his hands around her and grabbed her buttocks and squeezed them,” Albanesi wrote. At the bottom of the stairs, she wrote, Hazzouri also grabbed the woman’s breasts and groin.

The woman went to police headquarters the same day, according to a police affidavit. Albanesi had the woman call Hazzouri on a recorded line.

“He stated it was a mistake and [he] didn’t realize he did it until after it was over,” the detective wrote. “He apologized and offered her free dental needs as long as she lives.”

The three misdemeanor charges against Hazzouri each carry a penalty of up to two years in prison, or up to a $5,000 fine. He was released on $75,000 bail, according to court records, and his next hearing is July 20. The charges against Hazzouri were first reported by the Times-Tribune newspaper in Scranton.

Paul Walker, an attorney for Hazzouri, declined to comment Tuesday, and the case is not yet at a point where Hazzouri would enter a plea. The case is being prosecuted by the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

A spokeswoman for Trump’s political operation, Liz Harrington, issued a brief statement about the case Tuesday: “President Trump knows nothing about this.”

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment.

Hazzouri appears to be a longtime customer of Trump’s businesses. He appears in photos of Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party in 2015. In 2017, he was listed in U.S. Golf Association records as belonging to Trump’s golf clubs in Bedminster, N.J. — about 90 miles from Scranton — and West Palm Beach, Fla. (The association no longer makes those listings public).

In 2016, during a campaign rally in Scranton, Trump appeared to call out Hazzouri from the stage.

“Stand up, Albert. Where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert. He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him. Right?” Trump said.

After Trump took office, The Washington Post reported that Hazzouri had become one of Trump’s regular golfing partners.

In 2017, Hazzouri seemed to use his connection to Trump to push a policy proposal from the American Dental Association. In a note on Mar-a-Lago stationery that was first reported by ProPublica, Hazzouri wrote to Trump: “Good seeing you this weekend.”

In the note, Hazzouri referenced federal spending on dental care for veterans, Native Americans and children. “Let’s set up a meeting with the American Dental Association and create an oversight committee to stop the waste,” Hazzouri wrote, ending, “Love you President.”

Trump wrote on the note “Send to David S. at the V.A.,” apparently a reference to then-Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. ProPublica reported that Hazzouri said he had been acting on behalf of the dentists group. In the end, ProPublica reported, the effort fizzled, and no meeting was set up.

The next year, Hazzouri also used his connection to Trump when seeking a dentistry license in Florida, according to a letter he wrote to the state. Hazzouri said he was “the dentist and personal friend of President Trump,” and that Trump wanted him to set up an office in the state to treat the first family.

That effort, first reported by Politico, also came to naught. Hazzouri did not obtain a Florida license.