Former Trump adviser Tom Barrack to go on trial for foreign lobbying charges in September

Former Trump adviser Tom Barrack to go on trial for foreign lobbying charges in September
Michael Kovac/Getty Images/FILE

A federal judge set the foreign lobbying trial for Tom Barrack, a former adviser to then-President Donald Trump, for September.

During a remote hearing Wednesday, Judge Brian Cogan said jury selection would begin on September 7 with the trial to start soon after. Prosecutors estimated the trial could take three weeks.

Barrack and Matthew Grimes, his former assistant, were indicted in July on allegations they were acting as a back channel for the United Arab Emirates to influence US policy during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and his time in office. They have pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers for Barrack and Grimes said they will file motions to dismiss the indictment by the end of the month.

The judge also set several other dates for motions and hearings, including how to handle the potential use of any classified material.

Barrack’s attorney Daniel Petrocelli had asked for an earlier trial date, but the judge said he had to defer to prosecutors who stated they needed five months to determine whether any classified material may be at issue in the trial.

“What we don’t understand is whether there is any classified information that the government intends to present to the court,” Petrocelli said. “Could we possibly be in a situation where six months from now government says we have found nothing?”

Prosecutor Hiral Mehta said they anticipated the need for a hearing about classified materials they collect during discovery but said they didn’t anticipate the need for any future hearings, suggesting they don’t believe any of the classified material would be used at trial.

Abbe Lowell, an attorney for Grimes, said that was “surprising,” adding, “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

The judge said he would hold an ex-parte hearing with the defense in May and a separate one with the prosecutors in June.

Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York had previously asked the judge to question Grimes about potential conflicts of interest after learning that Barrack was advancing Grimes legal fees. The judge said he would take that issue up soon but noted that Grimes is “a pretty smart guy” who can assess his own risks adding he believed there was a “low risk” of disqualifying his attorneys.

The-CNN-Wire
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