Former Obama official charged with harassment, stalking of halal cart vendor

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(NEW YORK) — Former Obama administration adviser and State Department official Stuart Seldowitz has been arrested and charged for allegedly harassing a food cart vendor in New York City.

In videos posted online, Seldowitz is heard berating the vendor about his Islamic faith and Egyptian roots.

Seldowitz, 64, was charged with aggravated harassment, hate crime and two counts of stalking. They are all misdemeanor charges, according to the New York Police Department.

He was booked Wednesday night and his attorney was not present.

In one video, Seldowitz calls the Egyptian halal food cart worker a “terrorist” and a “terrible person.”

“If we killed 4,000 Palestinian children, you know what, it wasn’t enough,” Seldowitz can be heard saying.

The vendor can be heard repeatedly asking Seldowitz to leave.

“A 24 year-old male victim stated to police that an individual approached him at his work place multiple times and made anti-Islamic statements multiple times on different dates causing the victim to feel afraid and annoyed,” the NYPD said in a statement.

Seldowitz lives around the corner from the Halal cart’s location, according to an address provided by the NYPD.

Seldowitz claimed the vendor had expressed support for Hamas and triggered an argument, a claim the vendor denies.

“I’m not supporting something, I’m just working here,” the vendor can be heard saying in one video.

Seldowitz was also heard threatening to send the vendor’s pictures to the Egyptian intelligence services and said they will “get your parents.”

“Does your father like his fingernails? They will take them out one by one,” Seldowitz said, according a video.

Seldowitz did not speak as he was escorted out of a New York City precinct Wednesday night.

In a phone interview, Seldowitz admitted he overreacted and regretted what he had said, according to ABC station WABC.

The halal cart worker said he would await a face-to-face apology.

 

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