An attorney filed a sentencing memo on behalf of former House IT aide Imran Awan, claiming that President Donald Trump, other Republicans, and “conspiratorial media” attacks serve as a sufficient substitute for jail time for his client’s bank fraud conviction.
Attorney Chris Gowen, a former aide to Hillary Clinton, argued to Judge Tanya Chutkan, a President Barack Obama-appointee, that Imran should be spared jail, in part because of Trump, who engaged in “incoherent rambling” about the former IT aide.
“Considering … the conduct of several government officials, including the president of the United States, Imran Awan respectfully requests this court to sentence him to time served with a fine of $4,004,” Gowen wrote in the sentencing memo filed Wednesday.
Imran pleaded guilty to lying on a loan application on July 3. He was also banned from the House network in February 2017 after congressional investigators alleged he made “unauthorized access” to House computers and other cyber violations, but faced no charges related to this.
Awan will be sentenced on Tuesdayand prosecutors have only asked for probation.
Gowen claimed not a single problem with Imran’s Capitol Hill conduct was found.
After an investigation by the House Inspector General concluded that Imran made the “unauthorized access,” the House’s top law enforcement officer wrote that the former IT aide is “an ongoing and serious riskto the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems.”
Gowen suggested that Trump, Republicans and the media were responsible for Imran losing his Capitol Hill job, despite that the former IT aide was banned from the House computer network immediately following the internal investigation and before anyone outside of a small cadre on Capitol Hill knew about it.
“The 18 months of insane media attention and false public accusations against Imran unfairly cost Imran his job (not one accusation about Imran’s work on the Hill has been sustained),” the sentencing memo read.
But the Capitol Police said in a July 3, 2018 statement: “After finding numerous violations of House IT internal controls during the course of its investigation, the United States Capitol Police referred these findings back to House officials for administrative action.”
The alleged wrongdoing the House investigations uncovered involved violations of cybersecurity, a topic that Democrats have frequently elevated and called for increased fundingfor. Gowen seemed to obscure these violations, citing an op-ed in The Washington Post by former Democratic New York Rep. Steve Israel that describes the unauthorized access to computers as “using multiple usernames and passwords to skirt House rules and purchase office items.”
Gowen dismissed these allegations, and said the concern about violations in this case served to “distract” from the investigation into Trump and Russia, calling the president “desperate.”
Despite the IG’s findings and other violations apparent in public records, such as hiding LLCs – one of which took $100,000 from an Iraqi government minister – from House ethics disclosure forms, the Department of Justice, without explanation, said it could substantiate only the bank fraud charge.
Imran sent nearly $300,000 to Pakistan shortly after learning he was under investigation. Imran was arrested at the airport intending to fly to the country.
“The irony that Donald J. Trump, of all people, expressed outrage about a case involving bank fraud is not lost on the defendant’s counsel but Imran is not before the court to discuss the president’s financial history, he is here to present his story,” Gowen told the judge.
Rep. Israel’s op-ed in The Washington Post refers to “office items” — receipts for equipment that the House IG found were falsified in ways that made it impossible for the House to track whether equipment disappeared. Gowen’s law partner previously said members of Congress “expect” staff to “to expedite things” and “adjust the pricing.”
Gowen also said Trump and Republican congressmen, including Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, acted “without any shred of decency” in regards to Imran.
“Rep. [Louie] Gohmert and others staged an informal congressional ‘hearing’ on Imran’s case that was simultaneously pathetic, and a chilling demonstration of the propagandist power,” he added.
Gowen said Republican Reps. Gohmert of Texas, Steve King of Iowa and Ron DeSantis of Florida engaged in “unhinged speculation.” Gohmert, for example, commented on the fact that Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s laptop was found in a phone booth on Capitol Hill at midnightwith Imran’s Pakistani ID on top — months after he was banned from connecting to the House network.
Gohmert told The Daily Caller News Foundation that leaving the laptop “was a deliberate act by a cunning suspect” because “Imran Awan is a calculating person who made great efforts to cover his tracks, both electronically and physically,” Gohmert pointed out.
House leadership never told members or the public about the discovered laptop, which led concerned members to look into the situation, particularly after Wasserman Schultz threatened the Capitol Policechief with “consequences” if he didn’t return the evidence.
Gowen also pointed out that King told TheDCNF that Imran “should have been locked up in jail a long time ago with all his family members.”
And Grassley, an Iowa Republican, “wrote to the acting secretary of Homeland Security demanding that she produce the ‘Alien file’ for Imran and his entire extended family,” Gowen wrote in the memo. Imran began working with Capitol Hill data as a contractor in 2000 and was hired by former Florida Democratic Rep. Robert Wexler as an employee in January 2004 — the same year he became a citizen, according to Gowen’s memo, and Grassley was seeking to determine exactly when.
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