A federal judge in Washington, D.C. on Thursday granted another delay in the prosecution of a husband-wife team who were once IT aides for a group of Democrats in Congress, again postponing court action in a bank fraud case against Imran Awan, and his wife Hina Alvi, as prosecutors hinted at a possible deal in the case.
In an order from Judge Tanya Chutkin, federal prosecutors and lawyers for Awan and Alvi were given five more weeks for the next status update on the trial; it's the sixth time that the legal proceedings in this case have seen a delay since Awan was arrested July 24, 2017, at Dulles International Airport, as he prepared to leave on an overseas flight.
"The parties are currently exploring a possible resolution of this matter," federal prosecutors wrote to Judge Chutkin. "Therefore, the parties are requesting additional time in which to explore that resolution."
It was the first time that there had been a public hint of any kind of deal in the case, as this latest postponement did not repeat the reason for delay cited in January and March, which was characterized by the government as an "attorney-client privilege issue raised by defendant Imran Awan."
Awan and his wife have been charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, false statements on a loan or credit application, and unlawful monetary transactions.
No charges have yet been filed - or any reports publicly issued - about how Awan became a household name in the halls of Congress, after a group of House Democrats fired Awan, his wife, and several of their relatives, who had been doing part-time information technology work in the Congress.
Last week, a U.S. House panel voted to require background checks and other reviews of what are known as "shared employees" on Capitol Hill, people who do part-time work for lawmakers and other Congressional offices, whether on IT, budget, or other legislative jobs.
Before being forced out, Awan, his wife, brothers and other relatives worked for over two dozen different House Democrats, being paid anywhere between a couple hundred dollars to $6,000 per quarter, until they were summarily booted off the payrolls - and the U.S. House computer network - in February and March of 2017.
No official explanation has ever been given for the firings, and no charges of criminal wrongdoing have been filed against any of those fired IT workers.
Conservative watchdog groups have complained more and more loudly in recent months that Republican leaders in the House are ignoring a scandal involving the security of the Congressional computer network.
"It's the Republican majority that is charged with making sure the rules are being followed," said Tom Fitton, the head of the group Judicial Watch, at a recent event which called for action on the IT matter.
The actions taken last week by the House Administration Committee on 'shared employees' drew little attention, as the panel moved to tighten rules on oversight for those workers.
The committee posted no news release about the votes, didn't mention the name of Awan, or reference the firing of the group of IT aides - all during a swift 11 minute markup of a series of resolutions.
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