Opening statements set for trial against close Trump ally
When Donald Trump sought the presidency in 2016, a California billionaire named Tom Barrack made sure to get in the mix.
The pair had been close friends for decades before Barrack emerged as an informal campaign advisor. He later became the chair of Trump’s inaugural committee.
The problem, federal prosecutors say, is that Barrack was also secretly working at the same time as an agent for the United Arab Emirates, an energy-rich U.S. ally. The allegation has landed the defendant in federal court in Brooklyn. The trial is expected to illuminate his relationship with Trump, and how Barrack sought to leverage that relationship to protect the interests of, and feed intelligence to, the UAE.
Before being indicted, Barrack drew attention by raising $107 million for Trump’s inaugural celebration following the 2016 election. The event was scrutinized both for its lavish spending and for attracting foreign officials and businesspeople looking to lobby the new administration.