Tom Barrack, a former billionaire friend of President Trump, pleaded not guilty in a Brooklyn court on Monday to federal charges of illegally lobbying the United Arab Emirates.
A small crowd waited for the private equity investor when he arrived at the court and pelted him with insults.
“It’s our democracy,” one man shouted in a video posted on social media, one man yelled. “It’s our democracy, not yours. Traitor!’
Barrack, 74, faces seven charges, including secretly lobbying the Trump administration for the UAE between 2016 and 2018, and lying to investigators about his relationship with the Gulf state.
He pleaded not guilty on all counts during a brief hearing on Monday.
Tom Barrack (center) arrived in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday. Hecklers called him a traitor before pleading not guilty to seven charges, including secretly lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates
Barrack, a private equity investor, served as an informal adviser to Trump’s 2016 election campaign before chairing his inaugural committee
Barak appeared in court in Los Angeles, California last week after being arrested
He was released on a $250 million bond and is due to return in court on September 2.
‘As you would expect, the system works. I think you will find that in time you will all see that I am 100 percent innocent,” he said as he left the courthouse.
Under conditions agreed with prosecutors last week, he has surrendered his passport and will wear an ankle bracelet while adhering to a curfew.
In addition, he was ordered to limit his travels to California, New York and Colorado, where he will live at his home in Aspen pending trial.
Barrack, chairman of Trump’s inaugural commission, was arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
He and two others were charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents for allegedly trying to influence US policy on behalf of the UAE while Trump was president in 2016 and later.
The other two men indicted are Barrack’s former assistant Matthew Grimes, 27, and Emirati businessman Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43.
Grimes, of Aspen, Colorado, also pleaded not guilty in court on Monday.
Al Malik is a businessman from the United Arab Emirates who, according to prosecutors, acted as a conduit to that country’s rulers and is reportedly at large in the Middle East.
In court documents, prosecutors said Malik had already lived in LA for years before fleeing the US three days after an April 2018 interview by law enforcement officers.
Thomas Barrack reached a deal with prosecutors Friday that sees him released pending trial on charges of illegal lobbying.
Barrack was a prominent supporter of Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and led his inaugural committee
Barrack, 74, (pictured left at the 2017 inauguration) was hit by a seven-count indictment related to trying to push the UAE’s agenda and shape the government’s foreign policy
A seven-count indictment filed by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn alleged that Barrack, Grimes and Al Malik failed to register as lobbyists and used their influence to further UAE foreign policy goals in the United States.
Barrack is also alleged to have lied repeatedly during an FBI interview about his dealings with the UAE.
The indictment goes to the heart of the US’s long-standing close relationship with the UAE and directly links the de facto ruler, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to Barrack’s charges.
Barrack raised $107 million for Trump’s inaugural celebration, which was scrutinized both for its lavish spending and for attracting numerous foreign officials and businessmen to lobby the new administration.
While the indictment contained no allegations of wrongdoing by the inaugural commission, or by Trump — who was referred to only as “the candidate,” the “president-elect” and “the president” — it did say that Barrack boasted that he was a 30-year-old Has been. Trump’s year-long partner and could help UAE gain American influence.
The defendants repeatedly took advantage of Barrack’s friendships and access to a eventually elected president, senior campaign and government officials, and the U.S. media to further the policy goals of a foreign government without revealing their true allegiances. acting assistant attorney. said General Mark Lesko.
Barrack’s spokesman denies any wrongdoing, saying, “Mr. Barrack has volunteered to be available to the investigators from the start. He is not guilty and will plead innocent.’
Prosecutors said Barrack provided UAE government officials with sensitive information about developments within the Trump administration, including how senior US officials felt about a years-long boycott of Qatar by the UAE and other countries in the Middle East.
Worse still, in his communications with Al Malik, the defendant framed his efforts to secure an official position in the government as a position that would allow him to further advance the interests of the UAE, rather than the interests of the UAE. interests of the United States,” prosecutors wrote. in a letter requesting his arrest. They noted that he has citizenship of the US and Lebanon, a country with no extradition treaty with the US
Barrack is the founder of the private equity firm Colony Capital, although he stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2020 and stepped down as executive chairman in April. He is pictured at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in 2014
When Barrack tried to get Trump to appoint him as either the US ambassador to the UAE or as special envoy to the Middle East, he wrote to al Malik “that such an appointment would ‘give ABU DHABI more power!’ prosecutors wrote.
Barrack served as an informal adviser to Trump’s campaign in 2016 before becoming the inaugural committee chair. As of January 2017, he informally advised senior US government officials on foreign policy in the Middle East, prosecutors said.
Authorities cited several specific instances where Barrack or others allegedly tried to influence US policy, noting that in May 2016, Barrack inserted language praising the UAE into a campaign speech Trump made about US energy policy and caused senior officials to received an advanced design from the UAE.
They also said he agreed to arrange meetings and phone calls between senior officials from the UAE and Trump, viewed a PowerPoint presentation to be delivered to senior officials from the UAE on how to increase their influence in the US with his help. and repeatedly tried to hide his behavior, even denying that he had ever been asked by al Malik to help the UAE.
In 2016 and 2017, Barrack and Grimes received talking points and feedback from senior UAE officials related to Barrack’s national press appearances and communicated via a dedicated mobile phone with a secure messaging application to facilitate communication with senior UAE officials, according to the report. prosecutors.
They said that after a performance in which Barrack repeatedly praised the United Arab Emirates, Barrack sent an email to al Malik saying ‘I made it happen… for the home team’, referring to the UAE.
The billionaire is a longtime ally of Trump and founder of digital infrastructure-focused private equity firm DigitalBridge Group Inc, which was known as Colony Capital Inc before a rebrand was announced in June.
Barrack stepped down as CEO of DigitalBridge in 2020.
In April, he resigned as the company’s executive chairman, but stayed on as a non-executive director. Forbes estimates his net worth at $1 billion.
Barrack was a prominent supporter of Trump’s successful 2016 presidential campaign and led his inaugural committee.