Former DNC information technology staffer, Pakistani-born Imran Awan, was arrested at Washington D.C.’s Dulles International Airport on Monday night while trying to feel the country, and according to the latest reports, Awan’s lawyer — Chris Gowen — has deep ties to both Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Gowen was formerly a campaigner for both of the Clintons.
About Awan’s arrest, Gowen said that the arrest of his client was “clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”
According to Gowen’s bio on his website, he “served as a traveling aid for President Clinton’s national and international trips. Chris finished his tenure with the Clintons by directing the advance operations for then-Senator Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential campaign.”
Awan, a former longtime IT aide to former Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was arrested at Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport on Monday night while trying to flee the country.
Federal agents and the U.S. Capitol Police arrested Awan and charged him with “multiple counts of bank fraud” stemming from the investigation of an information technology procurement scandal in the U.S. House.
Authorities nabbed Awan at Dulles as he was “trying to leave the country,” was arraigned and surrendered his passport.
Gowen provided the following statement to The Washington Post about his client’s arrest:
“Because we are confident in the integrity of the U.S. justice system, we are confident that Mr. Awan will soon be able to clear his name and get on with his life. Neither Mr. Awan nor his wife have ever had any intention to ‘flee’ the United States.
They are U.S. citizens who have built a full life and have a strong community life in this country. They will stand and fight whatever charges are presented.”
Awan has been the lead suspect in an ongoing criminal probe into security breaches within the House of Representatives that was launched on Feb. 2. He allegedly doubled charged the U.S. House for IT equipment and may have exposed sensitive House members’ information online. According to previous reports, Wasserman Schultz kept Awan on her payroll, despite having been banned from House servers by Capitol Hill security.
Additionally, it was reported that Awan was still on the House payroll under Wasserman Schultz at the time of his arrest, but Gowan later noted that when Wasserman Schultz found out about the arrest, Awan was dismissed.
Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C., added that Awan was arraigned in U.S. District Court on Tuesday and charged with one count of bank fraud.
Miller added that Awan pleaded not guilty, and instead of being held without bail despite attempting to flee the country, was released “pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program.”
Awan’s preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 21.