Rex Tillerson will be called as a witness in the trial of Trump confidant Thomas Barracks, defense says

Barrack’s lawyers said in a letter on Saturday that federal prosecutors have called former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as a witness in the New York trial of Thomas Barrack, a billionaire friend of former President Donald Trump, accused of illegally lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. Plan to call. to the judge presiding the trial.

Tillerson will be the first cabinet official in the Trump administration to testify at the trial. entering its third week,

Barracks, who was an adviser to the Trump campaign and administration, as well as chairman of the presidential inauguration committee, accused him of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the UAE, obstructing justice and making false statements about his behavior to the FBI. Is charged.

Barrack’s lawyers indicated in their letter to Judge Brian Kogan that Tillerson, who is also the former CEO of Exxon Mobil, is being called ahead of the government’s plan because of scheduling conflicts.

Barrack’s lawyers wrote, “Today, the government informed the defense that it has ‘finalized’ a decision to call Secretary Tillerson as a witness.” He indicated that prosecutors intended to call Tillerson on Tuesday, but said Kogan ordered him to appear on Monday instead. Tuesday is scheduled to be a shorter than normal test day due to Yom Kippur.

A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s office in Brooklyn for the Eastern District of New York did not respond to a request for comment.

Tom Barrack speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention
Thomas J. Barracks, a billionaire investor and close friend and adviser to Donald Trump, delivers a speech at the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

Potential jurors in the trial were questioned extensively by judges and lawyers about their opinions and knowledge of Trump and others in his class, including Tillerson. During jury selection, Kogan indicated that Trump or members of his administration may be called as witnesses during the trial,

The case centers on allegations that Barracks traded his friendship and access to Trump to benefit the UAE government.

During the first two weeks, jurors heard from members of law enforcement, such as a digital forensics analyst, and an expert on the Bay Area monarchy. In recent days, he was found to have read text messages and emails between Barrack and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner – Trump’s son-in-law and former senior White House adviser, as well as former 2016 Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort . , They also read messages between the barracks and two others accused in the case, former employee Matthew Grimes and Rashid Al Malik, an Emirati national who was living in California at the time.

Federal prosecutors say the barracks sought to advance the “wish list” of the UAE’s foreign policy status from 2016 to 2018.

the barracks was charged in July 2021. At the time, he was the executive chairman of investment firm Colony Capital. He has filed pleas of not guilty to the charges. Colony Capital is now known as DigitalBridge.

Grimes entered not guilty please Allegation of acting as an unregistered foreign agent. Al Malik, who was also accused of acting as an unregistered foreign agent, has not been traced by law enforcement.

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