Jury finds Trump friend Thomas Barrack not guilty on all counts in foreign lobbying trial

Jury finds Trump friend Thomas Barrack not guilty on all counts in foreign lobbying trial

A New York jury on Friday found Trump confidant and billionaire Thomas Barrack not guilty of all charges in his trial over federal foreign lobbying allegations.

Barrack, a 75-year-old investor who was an adviser to former President Donald Trump and chairman of his inaugural committee, has been accused of using his Trump administration connections to try to influence US foreign policy for a client , the United Arab Emirates.

Outside the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse, Barrack praised the jury and invoked “Lady Justice.”

“The system is amazing. The people are amazing. I have no hostility, I’m just proud to be an American,” Barrack said, adding later that he was “done with politics.”

“Let’s stop fighting with each other. Let’s stop all politicization of everything, whoever the president is,” Barrack told reporters before teenagers walked past teenagers playing music on portable speakers. Barrack paused briefly, threw his hands up, and danced.

Prosecutors described Barrack as a businessman “campaigning for money” ready to use his White House ties to add a lucrative client to his investment portfolio. Barrack’s defense said he was using his ties to the Middle East and the presidential administration to try to settle disputes in a volatile but crucial region, a bid to cap off a career in international investing.

The jurors, incarcerated since September 19, deliberated for two days before delivering their verdict.

Barracks pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates, obstruction of justice and making false statements to the FBI.

Prosecutors showed the jury text messages and emails sent in 2016 and 2017, during the presidential campaign and the early days of the Trump administration, in which Barrack and an employee of his company, Colony Capital, appeared to relay points discussions linked to a “wish list” of UAE priorities. Barrack and the employee, Michael Grimes, communicated through an intermediary with Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a sheikh who serves as the UAE’s national security adviser, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Barrack and Grimes’ efforts secured $374 million in new investment from a UAE sovereign wealth fund for their business. Their defense said there was nothing illegal in their efforts to attract new investment and noted that this figure represented only 1% of the investment portfolio managed by Barrack’s former company, now known under the name of DigitalBridge.

Grimes, 29, was also charged in the case. The jury found him not guilty on charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent.

The alleged intermediary, an Emirati citizen who lived in California, Rashid al Malik, was also accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Al Malik has not been located by authorities.

After the verdict, Grimes said he was “grateful” to the jurors and his parents, who attended the trial daily and “supported me every day.”

“I am grateful to live in the United States to have the opportunity to stand before a fair and impartial judge and jury of my peers who have come to the conclusion of what it should be. And that is the truth,” Grimes said.

Asked about the result, he replied “offense”, without giving further details.

Outside the courtroom, prosecutors passed without comment.

Barrack spent the last six days of the trial on the stand, testify in one’s own defense. He described his communications with UAE officials about the Trump administration as “bloat” and attempts to mediate disputes.

The jury also heard testimony from two Trump administration officials, former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchincalled by Barrack’s defense, and former Secretary of State Rex Tillersoncalled by the government.

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