California billionaire Tom Barrack, a longtime ally to former President Donald Trump, had been charged and prosecuted by the Justice Department for allegedly working as an unregistered foreign agent as well as for allegedly making false statements to the FBI.
A jury on Friday, however, after several days of deliberations, fully acquitted Barrack of all of the charges against him, Axios reported.
It was ultimately determined that Barrack had not exploited his access to Trump to unlawfully lobby on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, nor was he guilty of allegedly obstructing justice or lying to federal investigators.
According to the Associated Press, Barrack, who had served as chair of former President Trump’s inaugural committee, had been accused by prosecutors of secretly lobbying Trump on behalf of UAE interests without having formally registered as a foreign agent.
He was further alleged to have lied to FBI investigators in order to obstruct justice when he was later questioned about his connections and communications with certain Emirati individuals in relation to advice and information that he provided to then-President Trump.
Barrack had strongly denied any sort of wrongdoing and even took the stand in his own defense during the trial and testified that any “lobbying” he had done had been in his own business and political interests and of his own accord, and not at the direction of any Emirati individuals or officials.
“Nothing nefarious” or unusual about “perfectly normal” business relations
NBC News reported that Barrack was ultimately acquitted as not guilty on all counts by a jury following several days of deliberations.
The six-week trial had featured testimony from numerous witnesses, including former Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin and Sec. of State Rex Tillerson, but the overarching message from the defense attorneys and witnesses was that there was “nothing nefarious” about Barrack’s Middle Eastern connections — he is an Arabic speaker of Lebanese descent who has done business in the region for decades — and that his actions had been “perfectly normal.”
After his acquittal, Barrack thanked the jury and praised the court system and said “God bless America” as he revealed his plans to “have a drink” and visit the Statue of Liberty.
Trump celebrates acquittal of “unfairly persecuted” friend
Former President Trump released a statement on his Truth Social account that heralded the “great news” for Barrack, who “should have never been charged or tried.”
He also commended the jury for their “courage and understanding in coming to an absolutely correct decision” that was, in his view, a setback for the plans of the “Radical Left.”
Previously, before Barrack had taken the stand to testify in his own defense, according to NBC, Trump had accurately noted that his longtime friend and ally had been “unfairly persecuted only because he is a supporter of ‘Trump.'”