New York Daily News

Feds bust big Trump supporter

- BY TIM BALK

Tom Barrack, a real estate investor and political supporter of former President Donald Trump, was arrested Tuesday morning on federal charges alleging he conspired to influence Trump’s foreign policy positions to benefit the United Arab Emirates and commit crimes striking “at the very heart of our democracy,” according to the Justice Department.

The chairman of Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee, Barrack (photo) was charged with conspiracy, obstructio­n of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with FBI agents.

In a seven-count indictment, court papers charged that Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, Calif., agreed to advocate for the appointmen­t of officials in the administra­tion favored by the Middle Eastern country and to leak nonpublic informatio­n to a foreign agent.

After repeatedly praising the United Arab Emirates in one public appearance, Barrack said in an email to the alleged agent, Rashid al-Malik Alshahhi, that he had “nailed it . . . for the home team,” according to the Justice Department.

According to the Justice Department, Barrack claimed falsely in a 2019 meeting with FBI special agents that Alshahhi had not requested he take actions on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.

“This case is about secret attempts to influence our highest officials, and when that corrupt behavior was discovered, we allege Mr. Barrack went even further, obstructin­g and lying to FBI special agents,” William Sweeney, the head of the FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.

Also charged were Alshahhi, a 43-year-old Emirati national, and Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colo.

“The defendants repeatedly capitalize­d on Barrack’s friendship­s and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiance­s,” Mark Lesko, the acting top federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

A spokesman for Barrack said he will plead not guilty.

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