Ex-Obama aide Stuart Seldowitz was given supervised release Thursday after being arrested and charged with a hate crime against a halal cart vendor in New York City.
Following Seldowitz’, 64, Thanksgiving Day arraignment the former Obama advisor was released on supervision with two counts of stalking as a hate crime, as well as one count of aggravated harassment, according to the New York Post. (RELATED: Los Angeles Police Investigate Possible Hate Crime After Someone Vandalizes Jewish Mural Near Iconic Deli)
“He’s a peace-loving person, devoid of hate from Muslims or anyone else,” Seldowitz’s attorney Scott Bookstein stated, according to the NY Post. Bookstein emphasized that his client was “not a warmonger and an Islamophobe” in spite of his action, noting that the lawsuit against him contains “a lot of ugly words.”
Assistant District Attorney Jordan Gwynn, however, told the court that he believes Seldowitz’s comments were “unprovoked and unwarranted,” according to the NY Post.
NEW: Ex-Obama adviser Stuart Seldowitz arrested for Islamophobic rant and harassing a Muslim vendor in New York, advocating for more Palestinian children deaths in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/3RcvQFGjmt
— Insider Corner (@insiderscorner) November 23, 2023
A video posted to social media this week went viral, showing Seldowitz harassing 24-year-old halal vendor Mohamed Hussein in the Upper East Side. However, prosecutors alleged that this viral encounter was not Seldowitz’s first confrontation with the vendor. In fact, he allegedly confronted Hussein four times between Nov. 7 and Nov. 19, according to the NY Post.
Seldowitz can be heard calling Hussein islamophobic slurs, and asking him if he “rapes” his daughter like “Mohammed did.”
“Tell me why I should go. I’m standing here, I’m an American. It’s a free country – it’s not like Egypt,” Seldowitz stated before he could be seen taking a picture of Hussein. “Did you rape your daughter like Mohammed did?”
Hussein continued to tell Seldowitz that he did not speak English, which did not deter Seldowitz from continuing to state that he was “ignorant.”(RELATED: Muslim Texas Doctor Stabbed To Death In Broad Daylight)
“You don’t speak English? Ah, that’s too bad. That’s why you’re selling food in a food cart – cause you’re ignorant. But you should learn English, it’ll help you,” Seldowitz stated.
Bookstein argued to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge James Clynes that “ the allegations attributed” to his client “are 100% antithetical to who Stuart Seldowitz is — what his core beliefs are,” according to the NY Post.
The presiding judge granted a full protection order for Hussein against Seldowitz, which was requested by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Seldowitz worked as a senior police officer in the US State Department’s Office of Israel and Palestine Affairs during the early 2000s. The former advisor also worked under five presidents, notably serving as President Obama’s former National Security Council chief, according to the NY Post.