Trump has some... interesting friends and associates. CHIP SOMODEVILLA / GETTY IMAGES
Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, is a big player in global politics. He's also been charged multiple times with sex crimes involving minors. In 1985, he was indicted for importing child pornography from the Netherlands into the US, although that charge was later dismissed due to a procedural error about how the evidence was obtained.
He was arrested again in 1991, after customs inspectors at Dulles Airport found child pornography in his luggage.
In that case, he wound up pleading guilty, serving six months, and paying a $2,000 fine. But according to Politico, "The court proceedings that followed [his arrest] were far from typical. While the charges were pending, Nader made at least five trips overseas with court permission: four to Beirut and one to Moscow. Prosecutors also agreed with the defense to put the entire case under seal due to the extremely sensitive nature of Mr. Nader’s work in the Middle East,' court records show." Plus, the six months Nader served were not in prison but "in a halfway house in Baltimore" where "at least some of the prisoners were free to come and go during the day."
(Infuriatingly, of course, other people were getting life sentences for non-violent drug convictions.)
It did not end there. Nader was convicted in the Czech Republic for sexually abusing boys in 2003, and served a year in prison.
As for the latest charges, they came about after Mueller started digging into a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower. (No, not that meeting with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower, a different one.) In exchange for Nader cooperating with Mueller's investigation, he was granted immunity, at least for Mueller's purposes. His name appeared over 100 times in the final Mueller report.
But it was during course of this investigation that FBI agents found some very vile shit Nader’s possession, including at least 12 videos of child pornography. They include a video of "a boy approximately three (3) to four (4) years old in a farmyard naked from the waist down. Baby goats surround him," according to the FBI affidavit, which is so disturbing that I'm not going to quote from it any further.
(Yes, if you're wondering, stuff described in that affidavit is definitely pedophilia.)
In addition to the child porn, Nader has now also been indicted for allegedly transporting a 14-year-old boy from Europe to the U.S. for sexual purposes in 2000. Prosecutors, according to the Washington Post, say that Nader took the boy's passport and threatened to have his mother jail if he told anybody.
Nader has pleaded not guilty. But his previous convictions were not secret, which is why it's very disturbing that he has nevertheless been allowed to be an insider in Trump's White House. "Nader was involved in various meetings and discussions related to the Trump presidential transition," according to Politico. He met with Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, and United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (whom he served as an adviser to) in 2016, according to Al Jazeera. "Nader visited the White House frequently during the early months of the Trump administration. He became friendly with former chief strategist Steve Bannon, visiting his office regularly," according to Axios.
After that, "Nader maintained contact with senior administration officials, including Bannon and Kushner," CNN reports.
Granted, this is not the first presidency he's been associated with. He also served as a liaison between previous presidents—including Ronald Reagan, Bush the Elder, and Bill Clinton—and business and political entities in the Middle East. As CNN puts it:
Since the 1980s, Nader has made a habit of ingratiating himself with administrations in Washington by volunteering to open lines of communication with elusive Middle Eastern leaders. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Nader was the president and editor of a magazine called Middle East Insight. While many in his field assumed his role as a magazine editor helped him create inroads with prominent leaders abroad, they still had little insight into how he'd built such an unusual rolodex.
Nader, like Jeffrey Epstein and plenty of other men connected to power, has managed to skate above the law time and again. But that may end soon. His request for bail was denied, and he's now awaiting trial from a jail cell in Virginia.