Thomas Barrack pleads not guilty to being UAE agent and says he's '100% innocent'

Thomas Barrack pleads not guilty to being UAE agent and says he's '100% innocent'
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Thomas Barrack, the billionaire fundraiser and longtime friend of former President Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty on Monday to federal charges that he illegally lobbied the U.S. government on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, obstructed justice, and lied to the FBI.

As the 74-year-old entered the Brooklyn courthouse, a protester holding up a sign that read "Dirty Traitor" shouted, "It's our democracy, not yours! Traitor!" followed by an expletive.

Barrack, though, told reporters he was "100% innocent" when he left the courthouse.

His Monday morning appearance was his first after being freed Friday on a $250 million bond.

TRUMP ALLY THOMAS BARRACK, ACCUSED OF ILLEGALLY LOBBYING UAE, REACHED $250M BAIL DEAL WITH PROSECUTORS

"As you'd expect, the system is working," he said. "I think what you'll find is that ... over time, you'll all see that I'm 100% innocent."

Federal authorities claim Barrack broke the law by failing to disclose his UAE ties to the U.S. government.

They claim he provided Emirati government officials with information about how senior officials saw a tense diplomatic conflict the UAE had with regional rival Qatar. The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bahrain launched a blockade against Qatar in 2017.

The UAE also asked Barrack for information on Trump's top picks to lead the State Department, the CIA, and the Defense Department, according to the 45-page indictment. He has also been accused of arranging a phone call between Trump and a top UAE official in 2017.

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Barrack founded Colony Capital in 1991. The telecommunications infrastructure-focused private equity firm has since been rebranded as DigitalBridge Group. Barrack stepped down as chief executive in 2020.

On Friday, Falcon Acquisition, a special-purpose acquisition company backed by Barrack, withdrew its application for an initial public offering. In March, the New York-based SPAC filed for a $250 million IPO.

Matthew Grimes, one of Barrack's employees, was also indicted and arrested in the UAE scandal along with Rashid Alshahhi, a UAE citizen who lived in California until the FBI interviewed him about the case in 2018. He fled the country three days later.

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Tags: News, California, New York, Federal Courts, Donald Trump, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, FBI, Defense Department, State Department

Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty

Original Location: Thomas Barrack pleads not guilty to being UAE agent and says he's '100% innocent'

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