National Security

Longtime Trump Ally Tom Barrack Found Not Guilty Of Illegal Foreign Lobbying

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

A federal jury on Friday found Tom Barrack, who served as chairman of former President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee, not guilty of violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Prosecutors charged Barrack in July 2021 with violating FARA through his dealings with officials from the United Arab Emirates, as well as lying to the FBI about those interactions. The jury, which began deliberating on Wednesday, delivered a not guilty verdict on nine counts. Barrack is one of several people close to Trump who have been charged with violating the World War II-era statute.

The Department of Justice alleged that Barrack edited Trump’s speeches during the 2016 presidential campaign cycle in ways that would be more palatable to the UAE. The indictment also claimed that Barrack gave UAE officials advice about potential cabinet nominees. During the trial, Barrack and his lawyers argued that he maintained business relationships with the UAE due to his role as founder of the hedge fund Colony Capital, and that conversations he had with officials were an extension of that.

“It is perfectly normal in business for a company to both try to cater to your business interests as well as your political interests,” attorney Randall Jackson said. (RELATED: Former Trump Officials Keep Getting Prosecuted For Lobbying For Foreign Governments, But What About The Rest Of The Swamp?)

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) was passed in 1938 due to concerns of Nazi activities in the United States. It “requires certain agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities … to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities,” according to the Justice Department.