Luke Rosiak, DCNF
Prosecutors have given Imran Awan a copy of the hard drive of a House laptop that Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to keep law enforcement from looking at, court filings show, suggesting prosecutors intend to bring charges related to the underlying cybersecurity and theft probe.
The hard-drive copy was included in discovery even though the Florida Democrat has said the laptop contains House information on it and is a government-paid work computer, and even though Imran was fired and banned from the House network because of suspected cybersecurity violations.
Imran left the laptop, with the username RepDWS, in a phone booth in circumstances that suggest that it was not accidentally forgotten there. Alongside it, he left a copy of his ID and letters to the U.S. attorney that ensured it would be treated as evidence instead of simply returned as a missing laptop.
Imran entered a House office building the night of April 6, two months after he was banned by House authorities from touching its network, and placed the laptop, a copy of his ID, and letters to the US Attorney in a phone booth, according to a police report. There would be little reason to enter the phone booth, and it would be difficult to forget items there.
Imran also left in the phone booth a notebook that said “attorney client privilege,” which could be a reason why prosecutors gave Imran’s lawyer a copy of what could be Wasserman Schultz’s laptop. Prosecutors said they were giving him a copy under the legal process of discovery, in which defendants have a right to evidence being used against them.
He has only been charged with bank-fraud crimes related to trying to flee the country with cash, which is why its inclusion in discovery suggests prosecutors intend to bring charges related to the underlying cybersecurity and theft probe. Imran’s lawyer, Wasserman Schultz, and many in the media have said the misconduct involving Imran goes no further than bank fraud, but the timeline makes clear that a serious criminal investigation into those House issues was the impetus for those moves, and the notebook also included “case details” and letters about “the apparent owner of the bag being investigated,” well before he was accused of bank fraud.
An Aug. 31 letter from prosecutors to Imran’s attorney reads:
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