Twenty-one-year-old Adam Savader, the main operations intern for vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan on the Mitt Romney campaign last year, was charged last week with cyberstalking and extorting fifteen women by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Michigan. After his much-discussed arrest on Tuesday, the charges against Savader were unsealed on Wednesday afternoon, and they are disturbing reflections of a young man with access to power, turned very pushy—and very sexually aggressive. Indeed, a copy of the criminal complaint against Savader (pictured with Ryan above) alleges that during the fall of 2012, he used a virtual toolbox of Google Voice numbers, fake Facebook profiles, and burner email accounts to threaten 15 women, including several of his college classmates, with distributing nude photos of them to their parents and friends. (Savader supposedly obtained the photos by hacking into some of the victims' email accounts at AOL and Gmail.) The charges carry a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
Before being charged today, Savader was making a name for himself in the Republican Party, taking jobs on the campaigns of Mitt Romney and, before him, Newt Gingrich. On his well-followed Twitter profile, Savader describes himself as a "Reagan Republican" and an "American Patriot." His public Facebook profile features hundreds of photos of conservative politicians and personalities — including Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter, Steven Crowder, and Andrew Breitbart — smiling next to Savader. "Savader is/was one of those young D.C. go-getters — there are legion — who made sure to get photographed with as many famous people as possible," suggested Slate columnist David Weigel, who met Savader on the campaign trail in 2012.
It was a different story for the photographs of others, the complaint against Savader alleges. Over several episodes with more than a dozen women, Savader is charged with threatening to ruin his victims' reputations with compromising photographs if they did not comply with his various requests. In one exchange, Savader allegedly demanded that a woman accept his friend request on Facebook:
The writer threatened to send the photos to Victim 11's parents and friends unless she told him not to: "Do it from ur phone RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!! I swear to god don't be stupid. U don't want every1 [sic] including your parents seeing your tits ass and pussy. Accept it now!! This is what I will send ur mom with the pics unless u accept now "thought u would want to see these pics of your baby girl. They're very revealing. About to send them to every1 so she is a star"
(The FBI special agent who filed the complaint collected a total of five different Google Voice numbers, each of which was programmed to forward texts to a cell phone belonging to Savader.)
Savader appears to have been a dedicated staffer. According to Yahoo News, he enjoyed dressing up as 'Ellis the Elephant,' the protagonist of two children's books written by Newt Gingrich's wife, Callista. (The Wire's Elspeth Reeve reported in December 2011 on the number of similarities between Ellis and Newt Gingrich.) A February 2012 profile on the website of George Washington University, to which Savader transferred in 2010, detailed his dedication in even more detail:
Mr. Savader began working for the campaign last June after writing to Callista Gingrich, the candidate’s wife, who put him in touch with the national campaign director. As special assistant to the chief operating officer for the campaign, Mr. Savader works full time at the campaign headquarters and is responsible for sending Mr. Gingrich a daily report. Before primary season began, Mr. Savader was still in classes at GW full time, but this semester he’s only able to take two night classes – a sacrifice Mr. Savader says has definitely been worth it.
“It’s been a great opportunity,” said Mr. Savader. “I’m having a great experience, and I’m meeting lots of good people. It’s important to get hands-on experience in politics, and that’s what I’m getting.”
Savader remains in FBI custody in New York. The full complaint against him is embedded below: