Trump Inaugural Committee Chairman Tom Barrack Arrested

He was among three men charged in federal court for conspiring to influence foreign policy by illegally lobbying as agents of the UAE.

Trump Inaugural Committee Chairman Tom Barrack Arrested
Carolyn Kaster / AP

The chair of former President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee was arrested Tuesday on charges alleging he conspired to influence Trump’s foreign policy positions to benefit the United Arab Emirates and commit crimes striking “at the very heart of our democracy.”

Tom Barrack, 74, of Santa Monica, California, was among three men charged in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, with conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent as they tried to influence foreign policy while Trump was running in 2016 and later while he was president.

Barrack was charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a June 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents. 

Also charged in a seven-count indictment in Brooklyn federal court were Matthew Grimes, 27, of Aspen, Colorado and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, 43, of the United Arab Emirates.

Prosecutors said Barrack not only agreed to promote UAE foreign policy interests through his unique access and influence, but also provided UAE government officials with sensitive information about developments within the Trump administration — including how senior U.S. officials felt about the Qatari blockade conducted by the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries. Barrack will plead not guilty, according to a spokesperson.

He's the latest in a long line of Trump associates to face criminal charges, including his former campaign chair, his former deputy campaign chair, his former chief strategist, his former national security officer, his former personal lawyer and his company’s longtime chief financial officer.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.