Former Obama official reaches deal to avoid hate crime charge

 January 19, 2024

President Barack Obama's former National Security Council chief was arrested late last year after viral videos showed him harassing a New York City street cart vendor.

Despite initially being charged with a hate crime, Stuart Seldowitz reached a deal this week to get that and other charges dropped.

Seldowitz must undergo anti-bias training

That's according to the New York Post, which reported that the 64-year-old agreed on Wednesday to participate in a 26-week anti-bias training program administered by Queens Counseling for Change.

If he completes the training while also avoiding additional arrests or contact with the victim then the Manhattan District Attorney will drop the charges that Seldowitz faces.

They include aggravated harassment, hate crime stalking, stalking with intent to cause fear and stalking at employment.

Seldowitz's case came about after multiple videos were posted in November on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter.

Former official threatened to have victim's family tortured

The videos show Seldowitz confronting halal cart vendor Mohamed Hussein on multiple days. In one clip he can be heard asking, "Did you rape your daughter like [the Prophet] Mohammed did?"

In another, he says, "I’ll send your picture to my friends in Immigration. The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents. Does your father like his fingernails? He’ll take them out one by one."

Seldowitz also mocked Hussein's ability to speak English and suggested that is too "ignorant" to do anything except sell food for a living.

Victim's boss initially thought Seldowitz was homeless

Islam Moustafa is Hussein's boss, and he told the Post that "Mohamed’s a little scared, he’s a little worried — especially after finding out this guy used to work for the government."

Moustafa added that he initially mistook Seldowitz for a disturbed homeless person and was shocked to learn of his past career.

"How do you ask a little 24-year-old if he ever raped his daughter? He's [Seldowitz] an ex-government official, he worked for the Obama administration, he’s not a nobody," Moustafa remarked.

"How does an ex-government official speak about religion and hatred with that much hatred?" he asked. "A normal person wouldn’t do that, but a guy with power and ranking shouldn’t be talking like that to a 24-year-old who keeps begging him to walk away."

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