Trump golfing partner charged with indecent assault

Dentist once lobbied former president in note beginning ‘Dear King’

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Wednesday 07 July 2021 16:31 BST
Related Video: Justice Department To Defend Trump Rape Case

A friend and golfing partner of former president Donald Trump was charged with indecent assault last week in Pennsylvania after it was alleged that he groped a female patient.

Albert Hazzouri Jr, a dentist from Scranton, Pennsylvania, is known for a note he wrote to Mr Trump on Mar-a-Lago Club stationery in 2017 that began “Dear King”, and pushed a proposal for an oversight committee on dental spending.

Charging documents filed in Pennsylvania last week say that Dr Hazzouri assaulted a female patient after a dental procedure in May, having offered to walk her to her car, The Washington Post reported.

Scranton Police Detective Dina Albanesi wrote in an affidavit that when the two were alone in a stairwell, Dr Hazzouri told the women to “get on his back”, which she refused to do.

“Hazzouri backed up into her, wrapped his hands around her, and grabbed her buttocks and squeezed them,” the police detective wrote. At the bottom of the stairs, Dr Hazzouri allegedly also grabbed the woman’s breasts and groin.

After the incident, the woman went to police headquarters, and Det Albanesi had her call the dentist on a recorded line.

The affidavit states that Dr Hazzouri said that the incident was a mistake and that he did not realise he did it until after it was over. He then apologised and offered her free dental work for life.

Dr Hazzouri faces three misdemeanor charges each carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison, or up to a $5,000 fine. He was released on $75,000 bail, and his next hearing is 20 July when a plea is expected to be entered.

An attorney for the dentist declined to comment on Tuesday when contacted by the Post. The case is being prosecuted by the Lackawanna County district attorney’s office, which did not respond to a request for comment.

Dr Hazzouri appears to be both a customer of Trump businesses and a friend of the president.

The dentist appears in photos of Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party in 2015. In 2017, he was listed in US Golf Association records as belonging to the Trump golf clubs in Bedminster, New Jersey — approximately 90 miles from Scranton — and the club in and West Palm Beach, Florida, close to Mar-a-Lago.

During a campaign rally in Scranton in 2016, Mr Trump appeared to call out Dr Hazzouri from the stage.

“Stand up, Albert. Where the hell are you, Albert? Stand up, Albert. He’s a good golfer, but I’m actually a better golfer than him. Right?” then-presidential candidate Mr Trump said.

After Mr Trump took office, the Post reported that Dr Hazzouri became one of the president’s regular golfing partners.

In 2017, Dr Hazzouri wrote the “Dear King” note to push a policy proposal from the American Dental Association, in which he also said: “Good seeing you this weekend”.

The proposal covered federal spending on dental care for veterans, Native Americans, and children, according to ProPublica, which first reported on the note.

“Let’s set up a meeting with the American Dental Association and create an oversight committee to stop the waste,” Dr Hazzouri wrote. He ended the message: “Love you President.”

Mr Trump wrote on the note: “Send to David S at the VA,” believed to refer to then-Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. No meeting was set up.

When seeking a dentistry licence in Florida, Dr Hazzouri also wrote to authorities saying that as a personal friend of Mr Trump, the president wanted him to set up an office in the state to treat the first family.

Politico reported that this too did not happen and Dr Hazzouri did not obtain a licence in the state.

The Trump Organization also did not respond to a request for comment from the Post.

A spokesperson for Trump’s political operation, Liz Harrington, issued a brief statement about the case on Tuesday: “President Trump knows nothing about this.”

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