Tom Barrack, a former adviser to President Trump, is accused of trying to influence foreign policy while Trump was running for office in 2016 and after being elected president.
Barrack, who served as Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee chair, was arrested and charged on Tuesday with being an agent of the United Arab Emirates between April 2016 and April 2018.
Also charged in the seven-count indictment were two other defendants: Matthew Grimes and a UAE citizen, Rashid Al Malik, who is still at large. Barrack is also being accused of obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.
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“As alleged, the defendants, using their positions of power and influence in a presidential election year, engaged in a conspiracy to illegally advance and promote the interests of the United Arab Emirates in this country, in flagrant violation of their obligation to notify the Attorney General of their activities and in derogation of the American people’s right to know when a foreign government seeks to influence the policies of our government and our public opinion,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said in a press release.
Barrack, the founder of Colony Capital and Trump’s longtime friend, will be fighting the charges, his attorney, Matt Herrington told Fox News.
“Tom Barrack made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty today,” Herrington said.
Barrack appeared Tuesday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles, where he was arrested, and ordered detained pending a detention hearing on July 26. The government is seeking to then bring him to the East Coast as the case is being prosecuted out of the Eastern District of New York.
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“The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko.
According to prosecutors, Barrack went as far as providing the UAE government officials with sensitive information about the views and reactions of senior U.S. government officials following a White House meeting between officials of the two countries.