Former House staffer at center of right-wing conspiracy theories pleads guilty to bank fraud charges

A former House IT staffer who became the target of right-wing conspiracies theories and labeled a “Pakistani mystery man” by President Trump pleaded guilty to bank fraud Tuesday after reaching a plea deal with prosecutors.

Imran Awan admitted to making a false statement on a bank loan application, a minor offense that had no relation to his work on Capitol Hill.

The plea deal includes several passages in which the government admits that claims made by conservative media — and shared by the President — that Awan stole confidential information from government servers were bogus.

“The Government has uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems,” including stealing equipment or illegally accessing or transferring information, including sensitive or classified information, prosecutors wrote in an 11-page plea agreement obtained by the Washington Post.

Prosecutors revealed that they conducted an exhaustive 18 month investigation and interviewed 40 witnesses regarding allegations that Awan accessed or stole information from House Democratic caucus servers.

While the actual charges Awan faced dealt with an application for a home equity loan, conspiracy theories circled online that he was somehow involved in the 2016 election hack of Democratic National Committee emails and that he sold information to the Pakistani government.

Trump encouraged the unfounded rumors by speaking out about Awan’s case.

"Whatever happened to this Pakistani guy who worked with the DNC? ... With the two servers that they broke up into a million pieces?" Trump asked during an interview with The New York Times in December.

He tweeted about Awan several times in recent months, referring to him as a “Pakistani mystery man.”

"Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man and Clinton Emails," he wrote.

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CHARLESTON, SC - JANUARY 17: U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL 23rd District) and chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) speaks to reporters in the spin room after watching tonight's democratic presidential debate at the Gaillard Center on January 17, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley spent yesterday campaigning in South Carolina in lead up to tonight's debate. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
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Awan, speaking out for the first time since his case began, told The Washington Post that he questions whether he would have faced similar scrutiny if he did not have a Pakistani name.

He told the newspaper he came to the U.S. as a teen and put himself through college. After becoming a citizen, he and built a career on Capitol Hill. He is not likely to face jail time.

“This has cost me my reputation, my livelihood, my family,” he said. “I can’t believe this.

“The president used me to advance his political agenda,” he added.

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