Stand by your Awan (3)

We have been writing about the Awan scandal. It involves former House IT staffers with ties to Pakistan who are accused of stealing equipment from members’ offices without their knowledge and committing serious, potentially illegal, violations on the House IT network. It also involves alleged bank fraud on the part of Imran Awan and his wife.

It may also involve the transmission of sensitive intelligence information to foreigners. Finally, it may involve blackmailing by the Awan family of some of their former Democratic employers, e.g., Debbie Wasserman Schultz who retained and tried to protect Imran Awan for months after the scandal broke. Wasserman Schultz fired Awan only after he was arrested at Dulles Airport as he tried to hightail it to Pakistan, where his wife had already fled.

Last week, as Scott discusses here, the government indicted Imran Awan and his wife. The indictment focuses solely on bank fraud. There is nothing about the IT scandal.

But that’s not what’s most strange about the indictment. What’s most strange, as Andy McCarthy explains, is that there is no mention of the Awans flight to Pakistan.

The indictment undertakes to describe in detail four counts of bank-fraud conspiracy, false statements on credit applications, and unlawful monetary transactions, yet leaves out the most damning evidence of guilt.

In fact, the indictment appears to go out of its way not to mention it. . . .

There is. . .no apparent explanation for omitting from a fraudulent cash-transfer prosecution the fact that the conspirators undertook to transfer themselves to the foreign country where they’d sent the money. Why would prosecutors leave that out of their indictment? Why give Awan’s defense a basis to claim that, since the indictment does not allege anything about flight to Pakistan, the court should bar any mention of it during the trial?

In fact, quite apart from the manifest case-related reasons to plead instances of flight, a competent prosecutor would have included them in the indictment simply to underscore that Awan is a flight risk who should have onerous bail conditions or even be detained pretrial.

The indictment is thus, in McCarthy’s words, “an exercise in omission:

Not a word about Wasserman Schultz’s keeping Awan on the payroll for six months during which (a) he was known to be under investigation, (b) his wife was known to have fled to Pakistan, and (c) he was not credentialed to do the IT work for which he had been hired. Nothing about Wasserman Schultz’s energetic efforts to prevent investigators from examining Awan’s laptop. A likely currency-transportation offense against Alvi goes uncharged. And, as for the offenses that are charged, prosecutors plead them in a manner that avoids any reference to what should be their best evidence.

There is something very strange going on here.

There is, indeed.

Some have noted that Steve Wasserman, the brother of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is a longtime assistant U.S. attorney in the office that is prosecuting Awan and his wife. I met Steve Wasserman during the fight against the leniency for drug felons legislation a few years ago. Wasserman helped lead resistance to that legislation. He was a valuable ally.

I’d be surprised if Steve Wasserman is involved in decisions pertaining to the prosecution of the Awan family. At any rate, like McCarthy, I have seen no indication that he has any formal role in the case.

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