George Nader seen in a CNN interview circa 1995.
Russia probe witness arrested on child pornography charge
01:09 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

A magistrate judge in Brooklyn on Tuesday ordered a man who had been a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and was arrested Monday on federal child pornography charges to be driven by FBI agents to Virginia on Wednesday for his next court appearance.

The man, George Aref Nader, was detained upon his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Monday for “transporting visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.” He has a serious heart condition, according to his lawyer.

As a result, US Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollack ordered him to be transported to Virginia, where he was charged, by two FBI agents. One of the agents is a trained paramedic. The arrangement was proposed by the government and Nader consented after his lawyer had initially suggested keeping him under the watch of private security.

Nader will spend the night in a Brooklyn jail on Tuesday before being driven to Virginia on Wednesday.

On Monday, the judge postponed a decision on bail to allow Nader’s attorney to gather additional information related to a proposed set of conditions that could accommodate Nader’s medical condition.

The judge described Nader, who lives in the United Arab Emirates and has dual Lebanese-US citizenship, as having “every incentive to flee.”

The charges against Nader came about after FBI agents seized three iPhones from him when he was stopped after arriving at Washington-Dulles International Airport on January 17, 2018, according to court documents, and searched the phones pursuant to a warrant for a matter unrelated to child pornography.

CNN previously reported that Nader was also questioned by the FBI on that date, the first of several sessions with investigators from Mueller’s office. He participated in a total of four interviews as part of the special counsel investigation, his lawyer said in court on Monday, and testified under a grant of partial immunity.

After the FBI found a dozen graphic pornographic videos of young boys on one of Nader’s iPhones, according to court filings, prosecutors issued a complaint against him under seal in April 2018.

Nader was previously indicted in the Eastern District of Virginia in 1991 on child pornography charges, according to court filings, after agents seized from him two reels of video tape concealed in candy tins. He pleaded guilty that year to one count of transporting child pornography.

The Mueller report mentions Nader in nearly four dozen footnotes, including references to his interviews with special counsel investigators and other materials, like his emails and text messages.