The court date for Imran Awan, former Democratic IT aide, has been postponed by more than a month after his attorney seeks to block a key piece of the prosecution’s evidence from being used; a government laptop which ties directly to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
“The government has been in discussions with counsel for the defendants regarding complex discovery issues and other legal issues in this case, in particular issues surrounding claims of attorney-client privilege being raised by defendant Imran Awan,” court papers filed Tuesday say.
“Last night, counsel for both defendants indicated that they need additional time to review and analyze these issues, along with the voluminous discovery the government provided in this case,” according to the documents. “The government consents to this request.”
Chris Gowen, Awan’s attorney, said at the last hearing: “We do expect there being an attorney-client privilege issue in this case… What occurred is a backpack from my client was found, he was trying to get a better signal, there was a note that said attorney client privilege and a hard drive. We feel very strongly about this.”
A Capitol Police report shows that the backpack contained the following items:
#1 a Pakistani ID card with the name Mohommed Ashraf Awan
#2 a copy – not original – of a driver’s license with name Imran Awan
#3 a copy (front and back) of his congressional ID
#4 an Apple laptop with the homescreen initials ‘RepDWS’
#5 composition notebooks with notes handwritten saying ‘attorney client privilege’ and possibly discussing case details below
#6 loose letters addressed to US Attorney of DC discussing the apparent owner of the bag being investigated.
It is unclear how the handwritten note saying “attorney client privilege” could be construed to cover a hard drive, rather than the pages of notebook it was contained on.
Imran Awan, his wife, his two brothers Abid and Jamal, and a friend all worked as IT aides for dozens of Democratic members of Congress. Shortly after WikiLeaks published the Democratic National Committee’s emails and during the lead up to the 2016 election, investigators discovered indications that they were using a server “for nefarious purposes” and “could be reading and/or removing information,” according to a briefing.