Top Trump aide pleads not guilty to working as foreign agent

Top Trump aide pleads not guilty to working as foreign agent
Mr Barrack (centre) was a long-time friend of Donald Trump. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Former Donald Trump adviser and billionaire investor Thomas Barrack has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an agent of a foreign government.

The 74-year-old was a key aide to Mr Trump during his 2016 campaign.

Mr Barrack has been accused of working as a foreign agent, lying to the FBI as well as illegally lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during and after the election.

The ex-Trump official entered his not guilty plea during his first court appearance on Monday in New York City.

He faces federal charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and making multiple false statements to the FBI during a 2019 interview. Last week, he was arrested in California.

Mr Barrack told reporters as he left court on Monday: “As you’d expect, the system is working… you’ll all see that I’m 100% innocent.”

Matthew Grimes, Mr Barrack’s employee, also faces illegal lobbying charges and pleaded not guilty on Monday. Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a UAE citizen, was also charged and remains at large.

The three men are accused of illegally trying to promote the interests of UAE government by using Mr Barrack’s connections to influence officials and media appearances.

They also accused of promoting the candidacy of a UAE-favoured individual as US ambassador to Abu Dhabi.

Mr Barrack, who also served as the former president Trump’s inaugural committee chairman, had been friends with the Republican president for four decades.

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