A California businessman who is on trial for conspiring to illegally donate over $3 million to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign is blaming Donald Trump for his actions.
Rani El-Saadi’s lawyer, Megan Church, is arguing her client broke the law out of fear of the “Muslim travel ban.”
“He believed that his contribution to Hillary Clinton’s campaign would save his business,” Church said, according to a report from Politico. “His company catered to clients who were travelers from Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East—the same people Mr. Trump intended to ban from the U.S.A. A Trump presidency posed a fatal threat to Mr. El-Saadi’s business. That’s why he donated.”
However, according to the report, “as the trial for El-Saadi and a co-defendant opened in federal court in Washington on Thursday, a prosecutor offered an equally simple explanation for the $150,000 El-Saadi personally ponied up to attend a Clinton fundraiser in Las Vegas in October 2016: Another, much wealthier man — digital payments magnate Andy Khawaja — secretly gave El-Saadi the money.”
“This is a case about a large-scale conspiracy to funnel well in excess of $1 million into the U.S. political system — money that came from the United Arab Emirates,” prosecutor Michelle Parikh told jurors.
Parikh has made an even more shocking claim in court — the money actually originated from the UAE government.
The scheme was allegedly cooked up by multi-billionaire Allied Wallet founder Khawaja.
“Khawaja wanted very badly to gain power and influence in the U.S.,” Parikh said.
Five other men charged in the case have pleaded guilty and cooperated with the prosecution.
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