By Alex Pappas, ,
Published June 06, 2018
Imran Awan, the former IT aide to congressional Democrats whose federal court case has drawn the interest of President Trump, is poised to strike a plea deal with prosecutors, court filings indicate.
A Tuesday filing said a plea agreement hearing for Awan and his wife Hina Alvi has been set for July 3 before U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan in Washington.
The filing did not reveal any details about the terms of the apparent agreement. But in court documents last month, prosecutors hinted that a deal could be in the works.
“The parties are currently exploring a possible resolution of this matter,” prosecutors wrote. “Therefore, the parties are requesting additional time in which to explore that resolution.”
Awan’s attorney, Christopher J. Gowen, nevertheless kept the door open Wednesday to the possibility that a deal might not be finalized.
“A plea happens in court,” Gowen said in an email to Fox News. “A plea does not happen outside of court. We anticipate that by July 3rd we will either enter a plea or the case will be set for trial.”
William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined to discuss the developments, saying, “We typically do not comment on pending cases and have no comment on this particular matter.”
The federal court case against Awan has been hit with repeated delays over the last six months -- a situation fueled by allegations in the media that, according to his attorney, have piqued the curiosity of prosecutors.
Since November, a judge has postponed Awan’s court hearing in U.S. District Court six times at the request of the prosecution and defense.
Gowen on Wednesday blamed the delays on the “tremendous amount of false allegations” published online and embraced by Republican politicians, the president and his “Twitter-addicted children.”
“Because of the pressure being applied by lawmakers and the Justice Department, very precious resources have to be used to fully investigate each absurd claim,” Gowen said Wednesday. “My client and I have turned over every single thing we have to assist. This is a tremendous waste of time and money.”
The exact nature of the allegations remains unclear.
Reports suggest Awan, who worked for former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and others, could have been involved in a cyber breach operation, something his legal team vigorously denies.
But the facts of the case on paper are relatively mundane. Awan and his wife are facing allegations they engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.
A grand jury in August returned an indictment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia charging Awan and Alvi with a total of four counts pertaining to that alleged scheme, which included federal bank fraud and conspiracy. Awan has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
But the case has drawn interest from Republican lawmakers because of Awan’s role for prominent Democrats and the access he had to sensitive data.
Trump has tweeted about the case and referred to Awan as “the Pakistani mystery man.” Trump also mentioned Awan in a New York Times story last year, saying, “Whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC?”
Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats originally had been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of alleged equipment theft, access to sensitive computer systems and more, according to reports dating back to early 2017.
Awan was born in Pakistan, but came to the U.S. with his family when he was a teenager. He became a U.S. citizen more than a decade ago.
The broader case surrounding him also has put renewed scrutiny on Wasserman Schultz for keeping Awan on the payroll for months, even after a criminal investigation was revealed and he was barred from the House IT network.
Most lawmakers fired Awan in February 2017, but Wasserman Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.
Awan has been enrolled in the High Intensity Supervision Program (HISP) with conditions that he abide by an electronically monitored curfew of 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. and a limit on traveling beyond 150 miles from his residence, according to court documents.
Wasserman Schultz has blamed the “right-wing media circus fringe” for the attention on Awan, suggesting it's all part of an effort to distract from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible ties to Trump's team.
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.