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Trump ally Tom Barrack pleads not guilty to foreign agent charges

Lawyers for the two men have pleaded not guilty on their behalf.

Barrack, a wealthy private equity investor, was released on a $ 250 million bond, mirroring a deal he struck in California on Friday.

Barrack, 74, is charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and four counts of making false statements to the FBI.

Prosecutors say he put pro-UAE language in a Trump campaign speech in May 2016, followed instructions from UAE officials on what to say in media appearances and in an editorial he said. he wrote, and agreed to promote the Middle Eastern nation’s preferred candidate for US ambassador there.

“Tom Barrack pleaded not guilty today. He did it because he’s innocent, ”his lawyer, Matthew Herrington, told reporters after the court hearing in Brooklyn. “The charges presented to him today were based on information that was presented and discussed in my conference room two years ago. And he’s innocent. We are eager to prove it in court.

Judge Sanket Bulsara, U.S. District Court magistrate for the Eastern District of New York, agreed to release Barrack from $ 250 million bail, an unusually high sum because prosecutors saw him as a flight risk .

“Of course I am innocent of all these charges and we will prove it in court,” Barrack said in a statement distributed by his lawyer after leaving court in a black SUV.

“The important thing we need to remember is three miles from here, in the middle of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty with a torch in hand signifying enlightenment, welcoming the seven continents across the seven seas. to bring him the masses of immigrants to give them tolerance, freedom and justice, “he said.” My grandparents came here in 1896 and 1900 and from humble and simple beginnings. They made me gift of all America has to offer. This statue is made of steel with a copper patina. We are in the midst of a very hot time and I can only tell you that the hardest steel is forged from from the hottest fire.

Adviser Trump’s bond was secured by four properties, $ 5 million in cash, and shares he owns in an investment firm. His son and ex-wife and a partner, Jonathan Grunzweig, agreed to pawn their homes to secure his release as well.

Bulsara warned Barrack not to violate his bail conditions or he and his family would lose everything. “It might overwhelm you, sir,” he said.

Barrack has agreed not to travel outside of Colorado, where he lives; California; where her children live; and New York, where he is scheduled to appear in court. He returned his passport and agreed not to travel by private plane, which he has done extensively in the past. He also promised not to have any contact with Grimes and not to conduct business transactions abroad.

The judge said the “substantial enough” bond package was “sufficient to mitigate the risk of absconding.”

Grimes was released on $ 5 million bail after his parents pledged their house as collateral.

A third defendant, Emirati businessman Rashid Al-Malik, is indicted in the case, but he left the country in 2019 after being questioned by the FBI.

Tensions arose at the end of the hearing when it was revealed that Grimes’ attorneys had started receiving discovery documents from federal prosecutors over the weekend, which Barrack’s attorney Herrington said. declared not to have received.

Herrington called it “very irregular” and asked for an explanation. Grimes’ attorney said he requested a specific item from his client, and prosecutors said they will provide additional discovery from this week.

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