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The two men charged with impersonating federal agents pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, Fox News has learned.
Arian Taherzadeh, 40, and Haider Ali, 35, were both arrested at a luxury apartment in the Navy Yard area of Washington, D.C. earlier this month during a multi-federal government agency raid of several apartment units.
They were charged with false impersonation of a federal officer and possessing a large-capacity ammunition device in a U.S. District Court.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has set the next status hearing for both men for the afternoon of June 28. Both men have requested a speedy trial.
Prosecutors said the two men had tricked actual Secret Service officers and offered them expensive apartments and gifts in an effort to “ingratiate” themselves and integrate with law enforcement agents, including an agent assigned to protect the first lady.
Prosecutors allege Taherzadeh and Ali had falsely claimed to work for the Department of Homeland Security and work on a special task force investigating gangs and violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Taherzadeh is accused of providing Secret Service officers and agents with rent-free apartments — including a penthouse worth over $40,000 a year — along with iPhones, surveillance systems, a drone, a television, a generator, a gun case and other policing tools, according to court documents. In one instance, Taherzadeh offered to purchase a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent who is assigned to protect the first lady, prosecutors said.
Taherzadeh’s lawyer, Michelle Peterson, argued that he had no intention of compromising the agents and had provided the luxury apartments and lavish gifts because he wanted to be friends with them.
She said her client had previously been licensed in Washington as an unarmed special police officer – a private guard to protect people or property – and was also a licensed private detective. In an extensive interview with investigators after his arrest, Taherzadeh said he had made “an embarrassing misrepresentation that got out of control.”
Ali’s lawyer, Greg Smith, has argued his client didn’t know Taherzadeh was lying about a connection to Homeland Security and genuinely believed he was working on behalf of the government.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes and The Associated Press contributed to this report.