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Second man accused of impersonating a Homeland Security agent pleads guilty

<i>Bill Hennessy</i><br/>Ali Haider
Bill Hennessy
Ali Haider

By Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

A second man accused by the Justice Department earlier this year of impersonating a federal agent in Washington, DC, pleaded guilty Wednesday.

Ali Haider pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud, conspiring to impersonate federal agents and unlawfully possessing a high-capacity pistol magazine in DC. He faces an estimated 63 to 78 months behind bars, according to an agreement read aloud in court.

The strange and winding case sparked much interest after Haider and his codefendant, Arian Taherzadeh were arrested in April after being uncovered by a United States Postal Service inspector.

Prosecutors alleged that the men hid a cache of weapons in an upscale DC apartment and befriended a number of federal agents — including a Secret Service agent on first lady Jill Biden’s security detail.

Defense attorneys argued that these were genuine friendships and not efforts to ingratiate themselves with the agents.

Prosecutors also implied that Haider might have connections to foreign intelligence when asking a judge to hold the two men in jail, noting that Haider, a US citizen, was born in Pakistan and had a passport to the country.

But a judge found those accusations to be overblown, noting that prosecutors had not proved any tangible connection to Pakistan, and that the only suggestion of Haider working with the Pakistani government was a false claim that he had made on one occasion. (Haider also falsely claimed to be a Calvin Klein model and descendant of the prophet Muhammad, according to the plea.)

The judge noted that Haider and Taherzadeh did not seem to get anything in exchange for their relationships with the federal agents, and that they instead “just wanted to feel on the same level’ as the real federal agents.”

In April, Taherzadeh pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy, voyeurism and possession of an illegal large capacity magazine. He faces an estimated guideline range of 37 to 46 months.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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