(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Thomas Barrack, a billionaire friend of Donald Trump who chaired the former President’s inaugural fund, arrives at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., July 26, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Hofstetter
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A billionaire fundraiser for former U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday lost a bid to dismiss criminal charges he lobbied the U.S. government on behalf of the United Arab Emirates without disclosing his affiliation.
Thomas Barrack, the former head of investment management firm Colony Capital (NYSE:DBRG) and chair of Trump’s inaugural committee, had pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal lobbying and lying to U.S. law enforcement, and faces a September trial.
His lawyers had asked U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn to dismiss the indictment, arguing prosecutors did not allege that Barrack owed a duty to or had a formal agreement with the UAE.
But in a 55-page decision, Cogan said the relationship between Barrack and the UAE “need not rise to the level of a formalized employer-employee relationship” to justify the charge.
Lawyers for Barrack did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Last month, prosecutors unveiled new charges accusing Barrack of having sought investment from the UAE at the same time he was lobbying for the Gulf country.
Barrack has stepped down as chairman and chief executive of DigitalBridge Group Inc, as Colony Capital is now known.
Trump fundraiser Barrack loses bid to dismiss UAE lobbying charges