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Was invited to Obama dinner: 'Third crasher'

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Jan 06, 2010 at 02:06pm IST

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Washington: A lawyer for the alleged "third crasher" has admitted that his client attended President Barack Obama's state dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but like the first two crashers the Salahis, he claimed he was an invited guest.

The Washington Post, which first identified the "third crasher" as Carlos Allen, on Tuesday said his attorney did not provide many details about how his client came to attend the dinner, despite not being on the White House guest list, nor did he provide evidence of an invitation.

But a veteran Washington white-collar defence attorney, A Scott Bolden, said that Allen, 39, whose presence at the dinner is part of an ongoing Secret Service investigation, has been interviewed by the Secret Service and is continuing to cooperate with their investigation.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Uninvited celebrity hounding couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi had gatecrashed the state dinner.

The Secret Service on Monday announced that a third, yet previously undisclosed, person had also made it into the November 24 dinner in honour of Manmohan Singh, along with an uninvited celebrity hounding couple, Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

Allen had previously denied to reporters that he had even attended the dinner or that he was the man being investigated by the agency, as the Washington Post reported late on Monday.

"His appearance at the dinner, arriving with the official Indian delegation that had been screened by the State Department, according to agency, exposed an entirely new area of weakness in White House security than that revealed by the Salahis, who walked in with authorised attendees through the main entrance," the Post said.

The influential US daily said Bolden described his client as publisher of an online magazine HushSocietyMagazine.net, which he said profiles the philanthropic pursuits of "the rich and powerful", denying the Post's description of him as a party promoter.

The parties he throws, Bolden was quoted as saying, are in conjunction with his magazine. "He is not a party promoter, he's an entrepreneur, and his site gets several thousand hits a month."

Bolden also said that his client, unlike the Salahis, who merely mingled at the pre-dinner reception, actually stayed for the dinner. "As far as he knew he was invited and he was supposed to be there, and no one treated him any differently."

Bolden added: "He clearly vehemently denies being a gatecrasher."

The White House has declined to comment on Allen, instead referring back to the Secret Service statement describing him as an individual "not on the White House guest list", who, unlike other Indian delegation members, was not processed through their computer system.

Also, Bolden denied that his client has any close connection with the Salahis, despite a much-circulated photo of Allen with Michaele Salahi at a party last summer.

"He didn't have any communications with them about the dinner. He didn't see them at the dinner. He attended the (same) event. But the connection ends there," Bolden was quoted as saying by the Post.

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