(Bloomberg) — Colony Capital LLC founder Tom Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump, wants evidence of his wealth, spending and lifestyle to be kept out of his upcoming criminal trial.
Barrack argued in a Tuesday filing in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that telling jurors about his wealth as well as his “chartered private plane” and multiple luxury homes could prejudice them against him. His lawyers also said such evidence was irrelevant to charges that he illegally acted as an agent of the United Arab Emirates.
“Mr. Barrack was successful and wealthy long before he was allegedly recruited to be a foreign agent,” his lawyers Michael Schachter and James Bowman said in the filing.
Barrack and his former assistant, Matthew Grimes, are set to go on trial later this month on charges they tried to influence foreign policy of the Trump administration on behalf of UAE. The government alleges Colony received $374 million from UAE sovereign wealth funds. Both men have pleaded not guilty.
‘Too Many Summer Houses’
According to Barrack’s lawyers, prosecutors plan to tell jurors about his plane and houses even though there’s no evidence he acquired them with proceeds of the alleged scheme with the UAE.
“Evidence of too many summer homes would be highly relevant if Mr. Barrack were on trial for his success, but he is not,” they said, though they also suggest such evidence could raise questions about the government’s case.
“If anything, the level of success Mr. Barrack attained through a lifetime of laborious efforts cuts against the government’s contention that he would abruptly risk it all, at 70 years old, to become an agent of a foreign power,” the defense lawyers said.
John Marzulli, a spokesman for Brooklyn US Attorney Breon Peace, declined to comment.
Last week, Barrack, who served as Trump’s inaugural committee chair, failed to get several potential jurors dismissed from the pool due to alleged political bias. US District Judge Brian Cogan ruled that “some dislike” of Trump wasn’t enough to keep New Yorkers off Barrack’s jury but said he’d further explore any bias when he individually questions prospective jurors beginning Sept. 19.
The case is US v. Al Malik Alshahhi, 21-cr-00371, US District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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