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Wasserman Schultz staffer pleads guilty to false statements, but not guilty of stealing gov. secrets

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks to reporters JUne 27 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Imran Awan, a former staffer of Wasserman Schultz, reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

A Democratic staffer pled guilty to making false statements on a bank loan application, but federal prosecutors declared that they found him not guilty of stealing government secrets.

What are the details?

Imran Awan worked as an IT specialist for Democratic members of Congress. In February 2017, Awan and four associates were banned from the congressional computer network on the grounds that they had violated security rules.

Awan and the other four suspects were accused of moving "terabits of information to dropbox so he was possibly able to access the information even after he was banned from the network." A terabit is one-eighth of a terabyte or about 125 gigabytes.

An unnamed senior congressional official told The Washington Post that this massive amount of data was simply personal family photos and Awan's children's homework.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) fueled speculation about Awan when she threatened the head of Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Police, threatening him with "consequences" if he did not return a laptop that Awan had left in a public bathroom.

When the police chief told her that his department would hold onto the laptop until the investigation was cleared up, Wasserman Schultz insisted that since the member of Congress who owned the laptop was not under investigation, the laptop should be returned.

“I think you’re violating the rules when you conduct your business that way and you should expect that there will be consequences,” Wasserman Schultz said to the police chief in a televised meeting. Wasserman Schultz also kept Awan on her payroll during the investigation, instead of suspending him until the matter could be cleared up.

Adding to the suspicious circumstances, Awan was arrested in July 2017 as he allegedly tried to flee the country. His wife did manage to flee the country, but later returned with a lawsuit of her own against Awan, accusing him of polygamy.

While some news outlets were quick to dismiss this case as a conspiracy theory, Awan was indicted on Aug. 17 on four counts including bank fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements. He was the subject of an 18-monthlong federal investigation.

What did Awan have to say?

Awan has held that he was not trying to steal government secrets. Instead, he said in his plea deal, he was falsely obtaining lines of home equity credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union. In the end, prosecutors seem to have accepted that assertion.

What was the verdict?

As part of the Awan's plea deal, prosecutors made the following statement:

Particularly, the government has found no evidence that your client illegally removed House data from the House network or from House members' offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information, including classified or sensitive information,.

What else?

President Donald Trump has taken an interest in this case. Trump slammed the plea deal in a tweet from June 7 saying, “They want to make a ‘plea deal’ to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”

One last thing…
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