Former Obama adviser granted supervised release after halal cart confrontation

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, November 24, 2023
Ex-Obama aide given supervised release after halal cart confrontation
Stuart Seldowitz was granted supervised release after being charged with hate crimes.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- A former Obama administration adviser was granted supervised release a day after being arrested on hate crime charges stemming from a disturbing confrontation at a halal cart in Manhattan that was caught on camera.

Stuart Seldowitz, 64, was arrested Wednesday and charged with two counts of stalking in the fourth degree as a hate crime and aggravated harassment in the second degree. All of the charges are considered misdemeanors.

On Thursday, a court granted him supervised release. A full Temporary Order of Protection was also granted in favor of both victims, including 24-year-old Mohammed Hussein.

Video in the media player above is from a previous report.

It all comes after several videos captured the former diplomat allegedly harassing the vendor about his Egyptian roots and Islamic faith. Seldowitz was fired from his work with lobbying and communications firm Gotham Government Relations.

A hate crime investigation was opened by the NYPD after Seldowitz was filmed allegedly harassing a food cart vendor on the Upper East Side.

The owners of the cart on the corner of Second Avenue and East 83rd Street say there have been several ugly confrontations at the cart over the last two weeks amid conflict in the Mideast.

"I don't sleep well hearing those kinds of harsh comments regarding the Prophet Mohammed and asking the young kid if he raped his daughter and all that," said Islam Moustafa, co-owner of the halal cart.

Multiple videos circulating online show Seldowitz talking with a halal cart vendor, at different times of day and wearing different outfits. It is not clear how many times Seldowitz was recorded at the cart or what days the videos were filmed.

"Why should I go. Why should I go? Tell me why I should go? I'm standing here. I am an American. It's a free country," Seldowitz said in one of the videos circulating on social media.

In a phone interview with an ABC News producer, Seldowitz admitted he overreacted and regrets what he said, but that there were no threats or intimidation.

The halal cart workers say if Seldowitz is truly sorry for what he said, they await a face-to-face apology.


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