Tom Barrack, a longtime supporter and adviser of former President Donald Trump, was found not guilty Friday of illegal foreign lobbying charges. The charges stem from federal prosecutors accusing Barrack of acting as a foreign agent on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The trial was held in Brooklyn.
Barrack, a billionaire businessman who also was the inaugural committee chairman for Trump, was found not guilty by a jury of his peers after deliberating for three days. (The trial itself lasted for nearly two months.) He was committed of all the charges leveled against him, including conspiracy, obstruction and lying to the FBI. Prosecutors, as the New York Times reports, accused him of attempting “to advance the interests of the Emirates in the White House and in the media, serving as a secret back channel for communications and passing sensitive information to Emirati officials.”
According to the New York Times, “As the verdict was read, Mr. Barrack bowed his head and his family wept in the courtroom benches.”
Barrack, a 75-year-old private equity investor from Los Angeles, is the latest in a long line of Trump associates who are now facing legal prosecution, particularly in their dealings with foreign entities. He was tried alongside his his former assistant, Matthew Grimes. Grimes was also charged with acting as a foreign agent and was also acquitted.
The trial, which featured Barrack taking the stand for several days, centered around the lead up and immediate aftermath of the 2016 election, when Trump was surrounding himself with nebulous figures who had potentially dangerous sway. Barrack, who speaks Arabic and is of Lebanese descent, offered to help Trump with his dealings with the Middle East. Those dealings, prosecutors argued, crossed moral and legal lines.