Trump Adviser Tom Barrack Charged For Foreign Lobbying

LA Times

Former Trump Adviser, Tom Barrack, was charged on Tuesday for illegal foreign lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to influence the foreign policy positions of both the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and the subsequent incoming administration, according to CNN.

Barrack was charged in a seven-count indictment with acting as an agent of the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018. He was also charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal law enforcement agents.Barrack was the chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, and while some of the charged conduct concerns the presidential transition, it appears unrelated to the inaugural festivities.

According to the indictment, Barrack and two other men charged Tuesday — Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado, and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a UAE national — capitalized on Barrack’s status as a senior outside adviser to the Trump campaign to “advance the interests of and provide intelligence to the UAE while simultaneously failing to notify the Attorney General that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials.”

The judge ordered Barrack and Grimes detained until Monday’s detention hearing. 

In a court filing Tuesday, federal prosecutors have described Barrack as a serious flight risk, calling him “an extremely wealthy and powerful individual with substantial ties to Lebanon, the UAE, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” as well as access to a private plane.Neither defendant had to enter a plea. A spokesman for Barrack said he plans to plead not guilty. An attorney for Grimes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Alshahhi, meanwhile, hasn’t been arrested. In the court filing asking for Barrack’s detention, prosecutors said Alshahhi had fled the US three days after being interviewed by federal agents in April 2018 and hasn’t returned.

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