By Caitlin Yilek Washington Examiner.com
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff once praised a doctor who was arrested last week for allegedly asking a 9-year-old girl to send him sexually explicit photos, and later invited him to his 50th birthday party.
Schiff, now 59, who is leading the Democrats in their efforts to impeach President Trump, introduced Bruce Hensel, now 71 and then a TV medical correspondent, at a contentious healthcare town hall in Alhambra, California, in 2009. The following year, Hensel was among the “close to 300 friends and supporters” at Schiff’s Hawaii Five-O-themed 50th birthday party.
“It gives me great pleasure to introduce our moderator this evening, a wonderful doctor and a very brave moderator, and that is my friend, Dr. Bruce Hensel,” Schiff said at the 2009 event.
“Dr. Hensel is one of the preeminent medical and science journalists in the country. He’s published two books and has won numerous Emmys and Golden Mikes for his work on NBC TV and ABC TV radio. Perhaps even more significantly, he writes and produces much of his own TV and radio material, and is one of the only such medical experts to be a practicing physician and teacher.
“He is board-certified in two specialities — emergency medicine and internal medicine — and is a full-time professor of medicine at UCLA. I don’t know how you find time to do all of this. He’s an award-winning filmmaker and continues to take medical shifts. And he’s dedicated his life to empowering people with information to get and stay healthy. So, please join me in welcoming Dr. Bruce Hensel.”
Schiff shook hands with Hensel, who was sitting to the right of the lecture, after the introduction.
A five-minute video from the two-hour event was posted on YouTube in 2009. The event, which brought out protesters, focused on healthcare reform. Schiff was booed throughout his remarks for supporting a bill that would create a government-run public healthcare provider. The panel featured Dr. Benjamin Chu, of Kaiser, Jerry Flanagan, of Consumer Watchdog, Leeba Lessin, of CareMore, and Dr. Francine Kaufman, of Children’s Hospital.
Hensel was arrested Wednesday and has been charged with one felony count of contact with a minor for sexual purposes. Prosecutors allege Hensel, who was the on-air chief medical correspondent for NBC in Los Angeles and New York, asked for images from the daughter of an acquaintance through an online messaging app on Aug. 4.
He faces a maximum sentence of 18 months in state prison if convicted. Hensel’s attorney Steve Sitkoff said in a statement that Hensel is “completely innocent of the charge.” Schiff’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Washington Examiner about the nature of his relationship with Hensel.
In September, Ed Buck, 65, a Schiff donor, was arrested and charged with operating a drug house and three counts of battery. The most recent man who overdosed at Buck’s residence survived, but the first two died 18 months apart. No charges were filed in relation to the other deaths.
As well as Schiff, Buck donated to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. District Attorney Jack Lacey, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
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