The legal teams for Imran Awan and Hina Alvi are close to finalizing immunity deals with the Justice Department that could spare them jail time in exchange for testimony against sitting members of Congress, federal law enforcement sources said.
FBI sources familiar with the case said late Friday that Imran Awan’s legal counsel was “deep in the process” of structuring an immunity deal for himself and his wife with Justice Department lawyers. The deal would allow the couple to freely testify against any or all Democratic lawmakers they worked for as IT specialists, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
True Pundit reported on Thursday that the couple was working on a plea deal to avoid prison time. But on Friday federal sources said those talks had progressed into a likely immunity deal for the duo.
The focus of the federal probe has shifted from the bank fraud allegations against the Pakistani couple to classified intelligence breaches in Congress, FBI sources confirm.
Before Friday, Awan had agreed to cooperate with DOJ and FBI to help “fill in gaps” in the bank fraud case against the Pakistani couple, who were indicted Aug. 17. But as talks with the FBI and Justice Department progressed this week, Awan also agreed to have his wife return from Pakistan to be arrested and face charges, sources said, and his legal team continues to cooperate with the FBI in “connected matters.”
The deal would avoid a lengthy extradition battle between the United States and Pakistan.
His wife, Alvi, fled to Pakistan in March despite the FBI intercepting her at Dulles International Airport. Awan tried to do the same in July but was arrested. Alvi is expected to return to the United States in late Sept., according to recently filed court records memorializing part of the new deal.
The couple now seeks a guarantee of no prison time. This could include an extended probation period for Awan without jail time, sources said.
Previously, lawyers in the case wanted the DOJ to drop conspiracy and making false statement charges against the couple to help reduce the federal sentencing guidelines, sources said. By reducing the four-count indictment to one count of bank fraud, the judge in the Awan case would have leeway within sentencing guidelines to keep one or both of the defendants out of federal prison, sources said.
On Thursday, federal sources said while the DOJ could not explicitly request reduced or no jail time for either Awan or Alvi, the Justice Department could structure its sentencing report to the judge in a specific way that makes it very clear the government is not interested in incarcerating the couple. Likewise, unless the US Attorney specifically asks for jail time at the sentencing hearing, the judge understands the defendant has cooperated, sources said.
Those stipulations would be eliminated as part of any comprehensive immunity deal that transcends “Queen for a Day” federal immunity.