The Washington Post

Man hints at guilty plea in impersonat­ion case

Person accused of posing as Secret Service official has an Aug. 1 hearing

- BY EMILY DAVIES

A man accused of posing as a member of the U.S. Secret Service and lavishing gifts on federal agents in a luxury high-rise in downtown D.C. signaled Friday that he will plead guilty.

Arian Taherzadeh is facing charges including impersonat­ing a federal law enforcemen­t official.

A change-of-plea hearing for him is scheduled for Aug. 1, according to a docket entry in federal court. A plea is not final until it has been accepted by a judge, and Taherzadeh could change his mind at any time until then.

His attorney could not immediatel­y be reached.

In April, a federal grand jury indicted Taherzadeh and a man named Haider Ali after an investigat­ion uncovered what investigat­ors say was a ruse carried out at the Crossing, a luxury apartment complex on the D.C. waterfront.

Prosecutor­s accused the men of falsely claiming affiliatio­n with the Department of Homeland Security and ingratiati­ng themselves with members of the Secret Service assigned to protect the White House and first lady Jill Biden.

Taherzadeh and Ali initially pleaded not guilty. Their defense attorneys, in hearings and court filings, denied the existence of a plot to infiltrate the Secret Service, saying that Taherzadeh acted out of a “desire for friendship” and that Ali believed he was working for a legitimate security company.

An attorney for Ali said Friday that there were no new developmen­ts in his client’s case and did not offer further comment.

The men have been on home detention since a federal judge released them in April, saying that prosecutor­s “proffered zero evidence the defendants intended to infiltrate the Secret Service for a nefarious purpose, or even that they specifical­ly targeted the Secret Service.”

Questions still remain about the motive for the alleged ruse.

Taherzadeh has a history of residing in D.C. apartments under false pretenses, fronting as a member of the Department of Homeland Security to access parts of buildings that were supposed to be off-limits to residents and avoiding rent, according to interviews with several people who lived in the apartment complexes and court documents in multiple lawsuits filed against him.

Taherzadeh also was known to have rooms full of police gear, security equipment and surveillan­ce technology, according to the interviews and court filings.

At the Crossing, prosecutor­s said, Taherzadeh grew close to Secret Service agents who lived in the building.

They said he offered gifts including drones, gun lockers and rent-free apartments to agents assigned to protect the White House complex.

The Secret Service has since said the ruse did not compromise national security but revealed vulnerabil­ities among its employees.

Crossing management, in emails to residents this spring, said they had enlisted the help of an advisory firm with expertise in national security to recommend improvemen­ts to their protocols.

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