Brother of man who crashed White House party speaks out

5:36 PM, Dec 1, 2009   |    comments
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Tareq and Michaele Salahi

NBC -- The brother of the man who crashed President Barack Obama's first state dinner and actually shook hands with the president says he's not surprised by the stunt.

Dr. Ismail Salahi is the brother of Tareq Salahi, who along with his wife made it into the dinner without an invite.

Ismail Salahi said he said he found out about the stunt like everyone else - while watching television.

"I was just as surprised as everyone else was. It's just something that's never been done before. I can't say that I'm proud that he's done this."

The surprise wore off fast, he said, adding that the reason for the stunt is the couple loves the spotlight.

"I wasn't surprised by it. I was shocked by it, but I definitely didn't put it past him and his wife to do something like this."

There is a feud over the family business, a winery in Virginia, Ismail Salahi said, and he has not talked to his brother in five years.

"My brother has been embroiled in a bitter family feud for about 10 years, trying to take over the family business my father started. (I've) been trying to help my father get away from the trouble they've been causing," he said.

Ismail Salahi said his brother claims to own the family winery, but that's not true.

There are two websites for the Oasis Winery; Tareq Salahi has his own website advertising the business.

"Anybody that digs a little bit on them will start to find a lot of stuff," he explained. "They're into the media thing, the attention, the press."

As for whether the couple should be charged, Salahi said his brother and sister-in-law should be investigated and treated like anyone else.

"A lot of things he's done, I wouldn't consider ethical or moral. That's the path they've chosen to take," he said.


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