Jul 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump ally Tom Barrack pleads not guilty to illegal lobbying

Photo of a masked Tom Barrack walking through a crowd of people and reporters

Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Trump inauguration chair Tom Barrack has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ABC News reports.

Why it matters: Barrack is accused of using his connection to Trump to advance UAE interests during the former president's campaign in 2016 and when later informally advising the administration on foreign policy positions.

  • Filings by the Department of Justice allege that Barrack has ties to senior leaders of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, two countries that currently lack extradition treaties with the U.S.
  • After authorities arrested him last week, Barrack posted a $250 million bail to get out of jail. While he awaits trial, a judge's order restricts him to New York, California and Colorado.

What he's saying: "Of course I am innocent of all these charges and we will prove that in court," Barrack said in a statement following his arraignment, according to ABC News.

  • "Three miles from here, standing in the middle of New York Harbor, is the Statue of Liberty, with a torch in her hand signifying enlightenment," he said. "That statue is made of steel with a patina of copper. We’re in the middle of a very heated moment and I can only tell you that the hardest steel is forged from the hottest fire."
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