Longtime Trump friend acquitted on lobbying charges in favor of UAE

Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of Trump’s who was accused of using his connection to the former president to influence international policy in favor of the United Arab Emirates, was found not guilty of the charges.

In addition, a federal jury in Brooklyn came to the conclusion that Barrack did not lie to the FBI during an interview. Michael Grimes, who worked as Barrack’s personal assistant and got his start at the private equity bigwig’s company after DJing at Barrack’s son’s eighth-grade graduation, was also found not guilty of the charges against him.

After a trial that lasted seven weeks and included testimony from Rex Tillerson, who was Trump’s first Secretary of State, and Steve Mnuchin, who was Trump’s first Secretary of the Treasury, the jury came to a decision.

Barrack took the stand for himself for a period of five days, during which he maintained that he worked as no one’s agent other than his own, and that his objective had always been to further his longtime passion for constructing a bridge between countries in the Middle East and the United States.

When Trump purchased the Plaza Hotel in the 1980s, it was then that Trump and Barrack first met  one another, and the two quickly became friends.

Federal prosecutors accused Barrack of using his relationship with Trump to gain influence and money, including the investment of $374 in Barrack’s business, Colony Capital, by sovereign wealth funds from the United Arab Emirates.

At the request of the UAE, the prosecution claimed that Barrack attempted to insert a reference to the crown prince of the UAE into a campaign speech that was intended for the general public. During the embargo that the United Arab Emirates placed on the country that is located on the Persian Gulf in 2017, Barrack made an effort to contact President Trump on behalf of the UAE. The UAE did not want the president to hold a meeting at Camp David to discuss the problem.

But Barrack’s lawyers pointed out that he was against the blockade and supported Qatar, which at the time of the crisis was seen as the “sworn enemy” of the UAE.

The federal government also accused Barrack of lying about downloading a messaging app to his phone and about setting up meetings between officials from the UAE and Trump’s administration. However, Barrack’s legal team claimed that the FBI did not take accurate notes of the meeting and did not record it.

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