The case against Imran Awan, the IT aide Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) hired that is suspected of stealing equipment and data from Congress, was in court last week. During the proceedings, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Mirando revealed some telling things about the case, according to Fox News writer Frank Miniter.
Imran was the subject of a criminal investigation into alleged cybersecurity violations. He and his wife, along with two of his Pakistani-born brothers, were the subjects of an FBI investigation regarding their IT work with dozens of Democratic congressional offices. The probe led to his arrest for bank fraud by the FBI at Dulles International Airport while he was trying to board a flight to his native Pakistan on July 25.
Imran was in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Friday morning, as the court proceeded with its bank fraud case.
Imran’s wife, Hina Alvi Awan, was present in the courtroom. She had fled to Pakistan after the police initiated the investigation, and a federal grand jury later indicted her and Awan on four counts, including conspiracy, and conspiring to obtain home equity loans for $165,000 and $120,000 from the Wright Patman Congressional Federal Credit Union and then transferring the money to Pakistan.
Both Imran and Hina Alvi’s passports have now been taken. However, Imran’s lawyer had asked that the travel restrictions be removed, which led to Mirando revealing when Imran was arrested, a cell phone found on him “had been wiped clean just a few hours before.”
Chris Gowen, Imran’s attorney, claimed his client had recently bought the phone, which explained the lack of data stored on it. But Mirando said the FBI found the phone had been wiped clean at 6:30 p.m. the same evening he was arrested.
Additionally, on a laptop found on Imran, a resume was discovered. The document, in addition to other details – such as the Awans selling their Virginia properties – lead prosecutors to believe Imran had no intention of returning to the United States and should not be given travel privileges.
Gowen also asked about a computer Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants to be returned to her. According to the report, Schultz had previously threatened the chief of the Capitol Police in a public hearing with “consequences” if she didn’t get the device back.
Gowen said the computer was seized from a public area of a congressional building, and that the computer and other documents found are “protected by attorney-client privilege,” therefore the evidence found within it should be excluded from future court proceedings.
A bag containing the computer was seized at around midnight on April 6, 2017. Why Imran was in the Longworth congressional building at that hour, after he’d already been fired by every Democrat except Rep. Schultz, whose office isn’t in Longworth, remains a question.
Congress has been asked to open an ethics investigation to discover why Rep. Schultz kept Imran on her payroll after the Capitol Police investigation – regarding the possible theft of congressional computer equipment, massive amounts of data transfer from the congressional system, alleged fake computer data created to thwart investigators, and data mined which could include emails from members of Congress – became known.
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