Judge grants bail to D.C. males charged with impersonating federal brokers

WASHINGTON — A decide in Washington, D.C., plans to permit two males charged with posing as federal brokers to be launched on bail, regardless of prosecutors arguing they may pose a “danger to nationwide safety.”

Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey mentioned Tuesday the case doesn’t meet any of the requirements for denying bail.

He mentioned that pretending to be a federal officer just isn’t a violent crime, and famous that whereas prosecutors mentioned one of many defendants was a flight danger due to his ties to Pakistan, there’s “no reliable evidence of any foreign involvement in this case.”

Harvey ordered Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, launched to the custody of kinfolk within the space. He stayed the order till Wednesday morning to offer prosecutors time to attraction.

Although the federal government has alluded to the opportunity of further fees down the road, Harvey famous that every defendant is just charged with a non-violent crime that carries a most three-year sentence.

“In a case like this, release should be the norm,” the decide mentioned. 

The two DC residents have been arrested final week for allegedly impersonating Homeland Security officers and “lavishing gifts” on Secret Service brokers assigned to the White House, together with a free condominium.

Prosecutors had requested that the 2 males stay jailed pending trial, noting they’d amassed a cache of firearms, ammunition, physique armor, tactical gear and surveillance gear, and that the Secret Service brokers they’d ingratiated themselves to labored within the White House, at Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence and on first girl Jill Biden’s element.

They “engaged in conduct that represented a serious threat to the community, compromised the operations of a federal law enforcement agency, and created a potential risk to national security,” prosecutors said in court filings.

Haider Ali appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.
Haider Ali appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.Bill Hennessy

At a detention hearing Monday, Taherzadeh’s lawyer Michelle Peterson countered that the government had “jumped to the wildest conspiracy theories imaginable.”

In court filings, Taherzadeh’s attorneys suggested his claims of being a federal agent were “an embarrassing misrepresentation that got out of control,” and not some nefarious plot.

Ali’s lawyer, Gregory Smith, told the judge that prosecutors “have been making a mountain out of a molehill” and that his client, a married father of four young kids, is no threat to anyone.

Taherzadeh and Ali have not entered a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Arian Taherzadeh appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.
Arian Taherzadeh appeared virtually before Judge Michael Harvey on April 8, 2022.Bill Hennessy

Prosecutors said the two men had tried covering their tracks — including turning off GPS monitoring on their phones and deleting social media posts — after they found out their interactions with the Secret Service were being investigated.

Prosecutors Joshua Rothstein said the pair appear to have been inadvertently alerted to the investigation by the Secret Service on April 4. That’s the day the Secret Service placed four agents involved with Taherzadeh and Ali on leave and started a review of their conduct.

As part of that review, an investigator reached out to Taherzadeh via a business email and asked to speak with him, Rothstein said. The investigator didn’t provide any details of the review, but Taherzadeh then realized he and Ali were under investigation, Rothstein added.

Prosecutors then moved to obtain a warrant, and the FBI made their arrests on April 6. The two men were meeting with an unidentified lawyer at a DC-area restaurant when they were arrested, Rothstein said.

In explaining his decision allowing home detention for each defendant, the judge said it’s unlikely they would be seen as government agents going forward.

“They are infamous,” Harvey said. “There are people around the world who now know that neither Mr. Taherzadeh nor Mr. Ali are federal agents.”

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