It’s dangerous sometimes to be an ally of former President Donald Trump; several of those connected to him have been charged with crimes that no one on the left would have had to face in the same situation.
Tom Barrack, who chaired Trump’s inaugural committee, was acquitted on Friday of felony charges that he lobbied the United Arab Emirates as an unregistered foreign agent.
The 7-point indictment came down in July 2021 for Barrack, his assistant, Matthew Grimes and Emirati businessman Rashid Al Malik. Al Malik, who was accused of operating as a UAE agent in the U.S., fled the country after the FBI interviewed him in 2018 and has not been caught.
Barrack, 75, is a long-time friend of Trump’s and a fellow billionaire of Lebanese descent from California. His lawyers said that he did have an open relationship with Al Malik but that it “made no sense” that Barrack would try to lobby Trump before he was even president and when his presidency looked like a long shot.
Loyal to his friends
Barrack was just loyal to his friends, defense lawyer Randall Jackson said.
During the trial, Barrack testified that “dozens” of people asked him to help them get pardons from Trump, but that he never asked for one for himself because he “never did anything wrong.”
He characterized his request for Trump to meet with UAE officials as an attempt to help him find common ground with Muslims, whom he had been attacking in campaign statements.
Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin testified that he never saw anything suspicious about Barrack’s actions within the Trump campaign and administration.
At the time of the inauguration, Trump was criticized for spending too much and for having many foreign governments represented, presumably to lobby him. Barrack was able to raise $107 million for the event.
Tears and celebration
His acquittal brought tears and celebration in the courtroom. “I am so thankful for this system,” Barrack said, and thanked the jury.
Grimes was also acquitted of all charges.
It appears that justice was done, but how many more Trump associates will have their lives turned upside down with specious charges just because they dared to be his friend?