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Trump may be called to testify at ally's foreign agent trial, judge says

Stock Markets Sep 19, 2022 05:27PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tom Barrack, CEO of Colony Capital, speaks at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Former President Donald Trump may be called as a witness at the criminal trial of Thomas Barrack, a private equity investor and former Trump fundraiser charged with acting as an unregistered agent for the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. judge said on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn told several prospective jurors for Barrack's trial about the prospect of Trump testifying to gauge whether they might be biased against the defendant.

Prosecutors said Barrack, a former chairman of the company now called DigitalBridge Group Inc, tried to exploit his ties to Trump to advance UAE interests, without disclosing his efforts to the U.S. attorney general as the law requires. Barrack raised money for Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign and chaired Trump's 2017 inaugural committee.

Barrack, 75, has pleaded not guilty, as has his former assistant and co-defendant Matthew Grimes. Both intend to argue that their interactions with UAE officials were part of their work, and Barrack's lawyers have said the U.S. State Department, and Trump himself, knew of his contacts with Middle East officials.

Any testimony by Trump would come as the Republican businessman-turned-politician faces a number of legal issues including a federal investigation into his handling of presidential records after leaving office and a New York state trial in October of his family company on tax fraud charges.

A lawyer and a spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Barrack's lawyers in an Aug. 26 court filing said Trump and members of his administration "cannot be ruled out as potential witnesses."

Twelve jurors and four alternates are to be selected to serve in the trial, which is expected to last about one month.

Prosecutors believe UAE officials gave Barrack input about what to say in television interviews and what Trump should say in a 2016 energy policy speech, and directed him to promote the interests of Saudi Arabia, a UAE ally.

Barrack was charged https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-advisor-presidential-candidate-among-three-defendants-charged-acting-agents-foreign last year with acting as a foreign agent, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making false statements in an FBI interview. The foreign agent charge carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

Cogan dismissed one prospective juror who said she did not like Trump, prompting the judge to ask if she could set her feelings aside.

"Subconsciously, I have no control," she said. "Consciously, I want to be fair and impartial."

Other prospective jurors were deemed fit to serve after they said their views about Trump would not affect how they weighed evidence.

One such juror said on a questionnaire that Trump was his least-admired public figure for "embarrassing our country and trying to steal an election." Another said in court he believed "Trump is better than Biden," referring to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

Barrack was arrested in Los Angeles but has been free on $250 million bond. Another co-defendant, Emirati businessman Rashid Al Malik, is at large.

Trump may be called to testify at ally's foreign agent trial, judge says
 

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Comments (8)
gab nea
gab nea Sep 21, 2022 7:13AM ET
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the only to trust what comes out of the orange ape's mouth
gab nea
gab nea Sep 21, 2022 7:13AM ET
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the only way to trust what trump say is to permanently attach a lie detector to his body and a light on his head when he lies!
gab nea
gab nea Sep 20, 2022 7:05AM ET
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wow how many foreign agents were circling trump during his lame tenure? I am sure they have seen the classified documents! that's why putin is acting out !
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 19, 2022 2:48PM ET
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fak
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 19, 2022 2:48PM ET
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lib
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 19, 2022 2:48PM ET
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erals
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 19, 2022 2:39PM ET
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crazy
Gus McCrae
Gus McCrae Sep 19, 2022 2:39PM ET
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enough
Stephen Fa
Stephen Fa Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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When Hunter Biden and Hillary Clinton charges?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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I'm the United States, people are charged with crimes when their is sufficient evidence laws have been broken.
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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Brad Albright There is evidence that the FBI put a lid on Hunter's activities.
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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that's the standard MAGA defense: "what about Hunter/Hillary???"  try that with the judge and see how far that will get you
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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"There is evidence that the FBI put a lid on Hunter's activities." -- really?  when was that?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 19, 2022 8:41AM ET
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Tre Hsi By evidence, they mean some guy in some message board.
gab nea
gab nea Sep 19, 2022 8:23AM ET
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foreign agents fundraising for trump? this guy's lowlife tactics never seem to end ! manafort was Putin's agent, now this guy! vote every maga Republican out of office!
Warm Camp
Warm Camp Sep 19, 2022 6:31AM ET
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Political persecution. 100% the same as it is done in Russia or Myanmar.
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 19, 2022 6:31AM ET
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LOL. Do you know what a jury is?
Tre Hsi
Tre Hsi Sep 19, 2022 6:31AM ET
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you didn't think it was political persecution when you and the rest of the MAGA crowd were chanting "lock her up" back in 2016 did you?
Brad Albright
Brad Albright Sep 19, 2022 6:31AM ET
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Tre Hsi In the minds of the right-wing kooks, mob rule supercedes 250 years of American jurisprudence.
 
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