Tom Barrack, a buddy of former President Donald Trump who served as his inaugural committee chair, took the witness stand in his personal protection in New York’s Brooklyn federal courtroom Monday to push again in opposition to allegations that he sought to money in on his ties to the-then president by appearing as an unregistered overseas agent for the United Arab Emirates.
Barrack, a California billionaire, testified that his non-public fairness fund, Colony Capital, did large enterprise with different Center East nations moreover the UAE, together with Qatar and Kuwait.
Requested if he may have agreed to behave as an agent of only one investor, Barrack mentioned that may be “not possible” as a result of it will bitter different traders in his multibillion greenback fund, giving them the notion that “if you happen to’re appearing for them, you are not going to behave for us.”
Barrack, 75, is charged with appearing as an unregistered overseas agent and mendacity to the FBI. Prosecutors allege he used his longtime friendship with Trump to “illegally present” authorities officers from the UAE with entry to the then-president and senior administration officers, after which lied to federal brokers about his actions.
Prosecutors largely constructed their case in opposition to Barrack and his former assistant, Matthew Grimes, by exhibiting jurors tons of of their textual content and electronic mail messages with an Emirati businessman named Rashid Al Malik, who prosecutors have described as their go-between for dealings Emirati officers.
The messages confirmed Emirati officers giving suggestions to Barrack on what he ought to say in TV interviews and enter about what Trump ought to say about vitality coverage in a 2016 marketing campaign speech.
Prosecutors mentioned UAE officers additionally pressed Barrack for particulars on who Trump would decide for numerous high-level jobs, together with CIA director and on the State and Protection departments.
Barrack’s attorneys have mentioned their shopper is his personal man and was doing what he thought was proper — not appearing as an Emirati agent.
In a courtroom submitting Monday, Barrack requested the choose to acquit him earlier than the case goes to the jury as a result of the federal government “failed to point out that Mr. Barrack ever entered into an settlement to serve underneath the course or management of the UAE. Even seen within the gentle most favorable to the federal government, the proof reveals solely that the ‘UAE’ generally requested Mr. Barrack to do one thing, or to contemplate doing one thing, and Mr. Barrack then determined for himself whether or not he would do it or not.”
Of their opening arguments, Barrack’s attorneys famous their shopper broke with the UAE over a blockade in opposition to Qatar — a declare bolstered final week by former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who testified on Barrack’s behalf final week. He mentioned that Barrack had pushed him to persuade then-President Trump to help Qatar in a blockade over the UAE.
Trump got here to Barrack’s protection on social media Sunday night time, calling him a “extremely revered businessman whose DREAM was to see PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST, an excellent and noble factor.”
He mentioned the “weaponized” Justice Division “has accused him of being a overseas agent of the UAE, which I do not consider he was.”
“He NEVER spoke to me about ‘speeches’ and what to say on this topic,” Trump mentioned in his Reality Social publish. “He’s being unfairly persecuted solely as a result of he’s a supporter of ‘Trump.'”