HOUSTON –A 48-year-old
former special agent with Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)
has been convicted of obstructing justice, making false statements and
accepting money and gifts for official acts, announced U.S. Attorney
Jennifer B. Lowery.
A federal jury
deliberated for less than three hours before convicting Leatrice Malika
DeBruhl-Daniels following a six-day trial.
DeBruhl-Daniels was a
veteran NCIS special agent working in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
There, she met Nadal Diya, a Syrian businessman living in Dubai looking
for help in securing a visa to the United States. At that time, Diya was
the target of several federal investigations.
The jury heard from 16
government witnesses, which included numerous agents and Diya himself.
Testimony revealed that in 2017, DeBruhl-Daniels used her position to
get certain benefits from Diya in exchange for providing information to
him about his visa status. The gifts included an expensive birthday
party at Diya’s home, approximately $1,400 in cash and the promise of a
job for her son in Diya’s company.
The relationship with
Diya eventually became sexual. During that relationship, she revealed he
was a target of an FBI counter terrorism investigation, information
that was classified at the time. She also told him that if he came to
the United States, he would likely be arrested.
In late December 2017,
federal agents had questioned Debruhl-Daniels about Diya. However, she
failed to disclose her intimate relationship with him, the gifts he had
given her, the job he offered her son and the classified information she
Following the interview, she also visited with Diya and coached him on what to say in a subsequent interview.
Several months later in
May 2018, she left Dubai for Hawaii for a highly sensitive and coveted
job. However, she soon learned she would not get the new position. It
was only then she confessed to superiors and investigators about her
illicit relationship, the monies, party and gifts she had received and
the classified information she had previously revealed.
testified in her own defense at trial. She claimed, among other things,
that the classified information she revealed to Diya was public
information. She further attempted to convince the jury she did not have
a duty to reveal any of the details of her personal relationship with
Diya nor her disclosures to him.
The jury did not believe her claims and found her guilty.
Diya, 49, Dubai, previously pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.
U.S. District Judge Gray
Miller presided over trial and set sentencing for Debruhl-Daniels for
Aug. 15. At that time, she faces 20 years for each of the four
obstruction counts, five years for each of six false statement counts of
conviction, another eight for a false statement with terrorism
enhancement as well as two years for the bribery conviction.
She was remanded to custody pending that hearing.
NCIS led the
investigation with the assistance of the FBI, Homeland Security
Investigations, Department of Commerce and Department of State.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arthur R. Jones and Alamdar S. Hamdani are
prosecuting the case.