Tom Barrack Case Involves Classified Materials, Lawyers Say
(Bloomberg) -- The criminal case against Tom Barrack, the U.S. businessman accused of acting as an unregistered agent of the United Arab Emirates, involves national security information, court filings show.
Prosecutors in New York didn’t spell out the nature of the secret data, but said the case will involve the Classified Information Procedures Act, known as CIPA. Judges use CIPA to prevent the unnecessary disclosure of classified information, while weighing the national security cost of such a disclosure.
“It’s difficult to discern what aspect of any particular case is classified because it’s always heard in a sealed courtroom, out of the reach of the public,” said Mark Lytle, a former federal prosecutor not involved in the case. “What’s always at play is the government’s interest in protecting classified information versus the defendant’s right to seek the use of that information in their defense.”
Barrack, a longtime friend of former President Donald Trump, is accused of taking direction from senior UAE officials and unlawfully seeking to influence U.S. foreign policy positions and appointments of the Trump campaign in 2016 and his administration. Barrack has pleaded not guilty and is free on $250 million bail.
The CIPA disclosure in a government filing on Wednesday was among the topics discussed at a hearing Thursday before U.S. District Court Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York.
“We agree there will be CIPA issues coming from both sides,” Matthew Herrington, a lawyer for Barrack, told the court. This suggests that some classified material could be helpful to the defense.
Barrack, who formerly ran Colony Capital Inc., a real estate and investment firm, helped the Emiratis on several fronts, according to prosecutors. He claimed credit for helping arrange a White House meeting with the president, for blocking a Camp David meeting on the blockade of Qatar and for pushing the UAE’s preferred candidates for positions in the new administration, prosecutors said.
The case is USA v Al Malik Alshahhi et al, 1:21-cr-00371, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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