Tom Barrack, the wealthy fundraiser for former President Donald Trump accused of unlawfully advocating for the United Arab Emirates while pursuing investments from two UAE sovereign entities, will begin jury selection on Monday.
Barrack oversaw Trump’s 2016 inauguration fund, a position federal prosecutors in Brooklyn allege he exploited to influence U.S. foreign policy during Trump’s campaign and early administration.
The allegations against him include serving as an agent of a foreign government and obstruction of justice. He has pleaded not guilty.
Barrack was arrested in California in July 2021 on suspicion of leveraging his relationship with Trump to promote UAE interests covertly. Attorneys said at a hearing earlier this year that the trial will likely run five weeks.
According to the indictment, the UAE used Barrack to influence U.S. foreign policy over the first 100 days, six months, one year, and four years of the Trump administration.
Prosecutors stated that Barrack “made several actions in the United States to further the UAE’s interests” without informing the Attorney General, violating federal law.
During an initial conversation with an Emirati national security official in 2016, Barrack bragged about his access to Trump, according to the indictment: “In his response, Barrack wrote that Emirati Official 2 should know that Barrack had been a thirty-year partner with the Candidate and that Barrack had staffed the Campaign.”
According to charge papers, Barrack and a co-defendant “also made repeated and deliberate attempts… to request the aid of United Arab Emirates authorities… in getting investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars.”
According to the indictment, the UAE funds pledged approximately $400 million to Barrack’s investment management business; however, it is unclear if Barrack’s firm received the money.
Barrack built Colony Capital, but U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan has restricted prosecutors’ ability to use his money as evidence. Cogan decided last week that they cannot display photographs of his luxurious houses and a jet.
There is little probative value in admitting these images, and there is a considerable risk of unfair bias. Accepting generic images of three luxurious residences provides no helpful background, in this case, said, Cogan.
In the indictment published in July 2018, Barrack was additionally charged with obstruction of justice and making repeated false statements during an interview with federal law enforcement officials on June 20, 2019.