This has been a bad week for Team Trump. First, it looks like his “special master” request is falling apart now that it is under some real scrutiny and skepticism. This coming as a judge who wasn’t appointed by the twice impeached former POTUS is looking at the matter. Next, Trump and his children, along with a couple of other allies, are being sued by the State of New York for alleged fraudulent dealings that spanned decades. Now, another Trump ally, Tom Barrack, who was charged with being a corrupt unregistered foreign agent, doing it for “money and power” had his trial begin — and prosecutors didn’t paint a pretty picture.
At issue is Barrack’s dealings with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and using his access to the former president to gain money and power. Barrack, a California billionaire, and his former assistant Matthew Grimes “met with and took directions from” the UAE during a two-year period that started in 2016, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hiral Mehta told jurors in Brooklyn federal court.
According to MSN, Mehta went further:
In court filings, prosecutors said the former president and Barrack have been friends for decades and UAE officials moved to take advantage of that relationship when Trump was running for president during the 2016 campaign cycle.
At the behest of UAE officials, Barrack leveraged his friendship with Trump to get language about the importance of working with “our Gulf allies” inserted in Trump’s campaign speech about energy in 2016, Mehta told jurors.
When he served as chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, Emirati officials also pressed Barrack for details on who he’d pick for various high level jobs, including CIA director and at the State and Defense departments, the prosecutor said.
He also provided UAE officials with sensitive information, including internal discussions within the Trump administration concerning the blockade of Qatar by the UAE, Mehta said.
And as Barrack was assisting the Emirati government, it was investing tens of millions of dollars in his private equity fund, the prosecutor added. When he was asked by the FBI about his dealing with UAE officials and the actions he’d taken, Barrack “started lying” and “lied and lied again.”
Barrack’s attorney has called the charges “ridiculous” and added that he did what he did “because he wanted to.”
His assistant Grimes’s attorney tried to paint his client as “an intern” essentially, shifting the focus back on his boss.
Jurors will hear evidence in this trial, which is expected to last about 5 weeks. After that, it will be their duty to decide if Barrack and/or Grimes were just “doing business” or working as corrupt unregistered foreign agents for the goal of gaining money and power.