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President Donald Trump inaugural chair Tom Barrack: I’m ‘100% innocent’ in lobbying case

NEW YORK — The chair of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee pleaded not responsible Monday and mentioned he was “100% harmless” of charges that he secretly lobbied the U.S. on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

Tom Barrack, 74, appeared in Brooklyn federal court docket for the primary time, days after he was freed on $250 million bail following his arrest in California. His lawyer entered his plea for him.

“As you’d anticipate, the system is working. I believe what you will discover is that … over time, you will all see that I am 100% harmless,” Barrack mentioned as he left the courthouse.

Prosecutors say Barrack used his multi-decade friendship with Trump to affect the Republican’s coverage, beginning when Trump was a candidate in 2016 and persevering with after he was sworn in as president.

On the time, the UAE was in a tense diplomatic battle with Qatar. Prosecutors mentioned that, amongst different issues, Barrack offered Emirati authorities officers with details about how senior U.S. officers considered the dispute. A gaggle of nations, together with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain, launched a blockade towards Qatar in mid-2017.

Prosecutors mentioned Barrack boasted to contacts within the Emirates that he might assist them acquire affect with the then-new administration, whilst he was searching for a put up as ambassador to the UAE or as particular envoy to the Center East.

Federal authorities say Barrack broke the regulation by failing to reveal his UAE ties to the U.S. authorities.

On Friday, a Los Angeles Justice of the Peace decide authorized a $250 million bail deal negotiated between Barrack’s legal professionals and federal prosecutors. The association required Barrack to surrender passports and undergo digital monitoring. It additionally imposed a curfew.

Barrack is charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements throughout a June 2019 interview with federal brokers.

Matthew Grimes, 27, an Aspen, Colorado-based former govt at Barrack’s firm, and Rashid al Malik, 43, an Emirati businessman who prosecutors mentioned acted as a conduit to that nation’s rulers, have been additionally charged within the seven-count indictment returned in Brooklyn federal court docket.

Grimes additionally appeared Monday in the identical court docket, the place his lawyer entered a not responsible plea for him.

Al Malik fled the U.S. three days after an April 2018 interview by regulation enforcement and stays at giant, authorities mentioned. He’s believed to be residing someplace within the Center East.

Barrack was an off-the-cuff adviser to Trump’s 2016 marketing campaign earlier than turning into the inaugural committee chair.

The indictment towards Barrack made no allegations of wrongdoing by the inaugural committee or by Trump.

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https://abc7chicago.com/tom-barrack-matthew-grimes-rashid-sultan-al-malik-alshahhi-donald-trump/10910571/ | President Donald Trump inaugural chair Tom Barrack: I am ‘100% harmless’ in lobbying case

Huynh Nguyen

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