Trump friend Tom Barrack scheduled to go on trial in September for illegal United Arab Emirates lobbying case


Tom Barrack Jr., founder of Colony Capital Inc., right, arrives at criminal court in New York, U.S., on Monday, July 26, 2021.
Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Private equity investor Tom Barrack will go on trial with a business associate in September on charges of illegally lobbying former President Donald Trump, his close friend, on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, a federal judge said Wednesday.

The trial of Barrack and his associate Matthew Grimes will take place in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jury selection was set for Sept. 7. The trial could start as early as that day, or the following week, Judge Brian Cogan said during a court hearing Wednesday.

At that hearing, Cogan, prosecutors and defense lawyers also discussed a schedule for the review before the trial of classified government materials expected to be used in the case.

The 74-year-old Barrack, who was chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund, and Grimes, 27, were arrested in July.

They have both pleaded not guilty. Barrack is free on a $250 million bond — which is one of the highest bonds ever set in the world. Grimes is free on a $5 million bond.

A third defendant in the case, UAE national Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, remains at large.

An indictment accuses the three men of secretly advancing the UAE’s interests at the direction of senior officials of that country by influencing Trump’s 2016 campaign foreign policy positions and U.S. government stances during the first half of Trump’s presidency.

Prosecutors claim that during the time he was allegedly illegally lobbying Trump, Barrack also informally advised U.S. officials on Middle East policy and sought an appointment as a special envoy to the Middle East for the American government.

Barrack, who never registered with the American government as an agent for the UAE, also is charged with obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.

A top Justice Department official last summer said, “The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former President.”

Barrack stepped down as CEO of Colony Capital in 2020. He resigned as executive chairman of the firm in April.

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