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WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has accused Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump and his 2017 inaugural committee chairman, of engaging in a wide-ranging scheme to favorably influence U.S. policy toward the United Arab Emirates without registering as a foreign agent as required by U.

S. law. 

A seven-count indictment was handed down Tuesday against Barrack, 74, and two other associates, one American and the other a UAE national. 

Prosecutors allege that Barrack, who has known Trump since the 1980s, sought to influence him starting in April 2016, when Trump was campaigning for president, and extending through April 2018, during the first year-plus of Trump's four-year term in the White House.  

The indictment against Barrack also accuses him of obstructing justice and making numerous false statements to federal law enforcement agents when they interviewed him on June 20, 2019. 

After Barrack was arrested Tuesday, his lawyer told U.S. news outlets that Barrack "has made himself voluntarily available to investigators from the outset. He is not guilty and will be pleading not guilty." 

Members of the media wait outside federal court building after Thomas Barrack, a billionaire friend of Donald Trump who chaired the former president's inaugural fund, is arrested, in Los Angeles, California, July 20, 2021.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko of the Justice Department's National Security Division said in a statement that Barrack and his co-defendants "repeatedly capitalized on Barrack's friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of (the UAE) without disclosing their true allegiances." 

Lesko said their conduct "is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president. Through this indictment, we are putting everyone — regardless of their wealth or perceived political power — on notice that the Department of Justice will enforce the prohibition of this sort of undisclosed foreign influence."  

Prosecutors allege that Barrack was an informal adviser to Trump during his 2016 campaign, chaired his inaugural committee and then "informally advised senior U.S. government officials on issues related to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East." 

Barrack at the time was executive chairman of a global investment management firm headquartered in Los Angeles, while one of his co-defendants, Matthew Grimes, 27, reported directly to Barrack at the investment company. The third defendant was identified as Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, a UAE national who worked as a UAE agent. 

Prosecutors allege that Barrack and the others took several actions to advance UAE interests without registering with the U.S. government as foreign agents. 

They accuse Barrack in May 2016 of inserting language praising the UAE into a Trump campaign speech about U.S. energy policy. The prosecutors say that Barrack, either directly or through Grimes or Alshahhi, was repeatedly in contact with senior UAE leaders.  

The Justice Department alleges in a statement that Barrack and the others "sought and received direction and feedback, including talking points, from senior UAE officials in connection with national press appearances Barrack used to promote the interests of the UAE." 

After one such public statement, Barrack emailed Alshahhi, saying, "I nailed it. . . for the home team," referring to the UAE. 

On another occasion, according to the government, Barrack and Grimes sought advice from senior UAE officials before Barrack wrote an opinion piece for a national magazine in October 2016 and "removed certain language at the direction of senior UAE officials, as relayed by Alshahhi." 

The government says that after Trump won the 2016 election, Barrack in December asked the UAE for a "wish list" of its short-term and longer-range goals it wanted from the incoming Trump administration. 

Prosecutors accuse Barrack, shortly after Trump took office, with providing Alshahhi with non-public information about the reaction of U.S. government officials after they held a White House meeting with senior UAE officials.  

The indictment alleges that in September 2017, Alshahhi told Barrack that the UAE was against a proposed summit in the U.S. concerning an ongoing dispute between Qatar, the UAE and other Middle Eastern governments. The Justice Department alleges that Barrack "sought to advise" Trump about the UAE stance and the summit never occurred. 

Throughout his representation of the UAE, prosecutors said Barrack used a dedicated cellphone and installed a secure messaging application so he could converse with top UAE officials. 

During Barrack's 2019 interview with FBI agents, the government alleged that he lied repeatedly, including denying that Alshahhi had ever requested that he take any actions advancing UAE interests. 

News Source: Voice of America

Tags: the justice department the former president government officials inaugural committee the indictment barrack in los angeles the government the government a uae national foreign agent donald trump alleges officials white house after trump

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Girlfriend of man accused in cheesesteak shop slay charged with murder

More On: murder Fight outside Philly cheesesteak shop led to fatal shooting: video Brother of NFL player charged in college student’s 2016 slaying Man accused of setting deadly fire because relatives didn’t follow Bible Mom accused of drowning son, daughter works for child welfare agency

The girlfriend of a suspect accused of fatally shooting a New Jersey man outside a Philadelphia cheesesteak shop has also been charged with murder, police said.

Jamie Frick, 36, of Newmanstown, Pennsylvania, was charged Tuesday with murder and tampering with evidence in the July 22 shooting death of David Padro Jr., a 23-year-old Camden man who was gunned down outside Pat’s King of Steaks following a brawl with another customer, Paul Burkert, 36, police said Wednesday.

A Philadelphia police spokesman said there was no additional information to provide when asked what role Frick allegedly had in Padro’s slaying.

Her attorney did not immediately reply to a request for comment, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

Sources told WPVI Frick did not fire the gun that killed Padro, but she had “enough involvement in the case” to lead to murder charges against her. She’s currently being held without bail, the station reported.

Video of the fight between Padro and Burkert – which witnesses said started over a parking spot – shows Padro charging into the Reading, Pennsylvania, man before the pair trade punches as witnesses look on.

Padro got Burket into a headlock at one point before the men go off-camera and a single gunshot is heard. Police said Padro was shot in the lower back and later died at a hospital.

Burkert has been charged with murder, reckless endangering, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and weapons offenses in the slaying. The man’s attorney, Chuck Peruto, has said he intends to argue that Burkert acted in self-defense during the deadly brawl.

Jamie Frick, 36, of Newmanstown, Pennsylvania, was charged Tuesday with murder and tampering with evidence.Philadelphia PD Paul Burkert engaged in a fight with David Padro Jr.AP

“If you’re met with deadly force, you can use deadly force,” Peruto told WPVI. “We will argue in this case that my client was getting choked out.”

Peruto said Burkert thought his life was in danger once Padro put him in a headlock.

“When he finally broke free, he had enough air to shoot the guy because he couldn’t go through it again,” Peruto continued. “He didn’t know if the guy was going to choke him again.”

But Burkert was barred from possessing a firearm after pleading guilty to a felony drug charge in Pennsylvania two years ago, the Inquirer reported.

“There’s no question in my mind he’s going to pay the penalty for carrying an illegal firearm,” Peruto told WPVI of Burkert.

The fight was allegedly sparked over a parking spot.Philadelphia PD

Padro’s girlfriend, meanwhile, claims the pair started arguing over a minor parking spat before Burkert “provoked” him.

“There was an altercation over a car door,” Amber McShane told WPVI. “It was ridiculous.”

The squabble was seemingly coming to an end just as the pair went off-camera, McShane said.

“It was just a fistfight,” McShane said. “It wasn’t anything serious. It happens all the time.”

Filed under murder ,  philadelphia ,  restaurants ,  shootings ,  videos ,  7/29/21

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