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Sunday, June 28, 2020

June 28, 2020
This 1998 file frame from video provided by C-SPAN shows George Nader, then-president and editor of Middle East Insight.

A Lebanese American businessman who was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and who helped broker the release of American hostages was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison sentence on child sex charges.

George Nader pleaded guilty in January to bringing a 14-year-old boy from the Czech Republic to the U.S. 20 years ago to engage in sexual activity. He also acknowledged possessing child pornography.

Nader’s name appears more than 100 times in the Mueller report. It details Nader’s efforts to serve as liaison between Russians and members of President Donald Trump’s transition team.

In the 1990s, Nader served as a broker to facilitate the release of American hostages held in the Middle East.

The convictions carried a 10-year mandatory minimum. The judge could have imposed a longer term, though prosecutors also recommended a 10-year sentence.

Nader also agreed to pay $150,000 in restitution to the Czech boy he abused, who is now an adult and testified at Friday’s sentencing hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria by phone.

“George destroyed practically my entire life, and I am trying to put it back together piece by piece,” he said through a translator.

Nader’s interest in children and his status as a behind-the-scenes power player both extend back decades. And there’s at least some indication that the latter shielded him from the consequences of the former.

Almost 30 years ago, Nader was caught by customs officials transporting two films, hidden in candy tins, of minor boys into the U.S. He received a six-month sentence, a term that prosecutors in the current case acknowledge is “far below what would be expected of such a crime today.”

In 1991, as he awaited sentencing, his case was twice delayed so he could continue his work on hostage negotiations. Court records cited by his current defense lawyers indicate that British hostage Jon McCarthy and American hostage Edward Tracy were released in July of that year and that Nader played an outsized role in securing the release. Participants in the negotiations wrote letters to the judge on Nader’s behalf.

Later, in 2003, Nader sentenced to a 1-year prison term in the Czech Republic after being convicted there on 10 counts of sexually abusing minors and sentenced to a one-year prison term in 2003.

Prosecutors say the abused boys were largely child prostitutes. The 14-year-old boy brought to the U.S. also alleged he was victimized by Nader int he Czech case, though Nader’s lawyers say he wasn’t convicted there. The two sides dispute the extent of abuse inflicted on the boy in the U.S. but Nader has admitted to one sex act.

Nader “used his contacts and his wealth to accomplish” bringing the Czech boy into the U.S., prosecutor Jay Prabhu wrote.

The current case against Nader began in 2018 when images were found on his phone after it was confiscated under a search warrant connected to the Mueller probe.