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Indicted UAE Lobbyist Barrack Waives Conflict of Attorney as District Judge Will Pick Jury

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Podcast
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

EDNY, June 3 – Thomas Barrack and Matthew Grimes, indicted for illegal lobbying for the United Arab Emirates, were arraigned on July 26, 2021 before U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara. Inner City Press live tweeted it here (and podcast here)

 On August 3, Grimes asked the Court for permission to travel to New York where his lawyers are based - and then to take the train to Boston (the conditions of release were limited and car and common air carrier, with private jet access cited). Letter on CourtListener here.

On November 2, Judge Cogan held another proceeding in the case - but no listen-only call-in line was provided, unlike the in-person EDNY guilty plea the same day in US v. Daniel Rendon Herrera, a Colombian drug kingpin charged with continuing criminal enterprise and providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization before Judge Dora L. Irizarry. Inner City Press live tweeted thread here.

Why less transparency on Barrack?

On March 15, 2022, with the UAE Mission to the UN under Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh refusing to answer written questions from Inner City Press and documents sealed in EDNY, this Barrack argument; "while the indictment alleges that Mr. Barrack spoke positively about the UAE in the media, see Indictment ¶ 24, those allegations do not show he was the UAE’s agent, see Mot. 7. Otherwise, a U.S. citizen could never speak positively of a foreign government or its objectives without running afoul of Section 951, and could not flatter himself when he did so, see Indictment ¶ 24(d)—a result that would clearly run afoul of the First Amendment, see supra 11-14. Similarly, the indictment alleges that UAE officials asked Mr. Barrack for information about certain U.S. officials, see Indictment ¶¶ 54, 56, and informed Mr. Barrack of certain UAE objectives, id. ¶¶ 57, 60-62, 65, 71-74, 81-87, but there is no allegation Mr. Barrack agreed to advance these objectives or complied with the UAE’s requests, see Mot. 7, 17-18. Merely receiving requests from a third party does not show a duty to act subject to the third party’s direction or control; “mutual assent” to the agency relationship is required."

On May 24, 2022, Judge Cogan held a proceeding and Inner City Press live tweeted it, here and below.

On June 3, Judge Cogan held another proceeding which Inner City Press covered; he will do the voir dire: "Minute Entry for Curcio Hearing as to Thomas Joseph Barrack held on 6/3/2022 before Judge Brian M. Cogan. Defendant Barrack waived his right to have today's hearing live. Pursuant to the CARES Act and current Administrative Order, the Court conducted the proceeding by video. All parties present. The Court found Mr. Barrack's waiver was knowing and voluntary and accepted his waiver of potential conflict. The jury selection will be conducted by Judge Brian M. Cogan."

From May 24: District Judge Brian M. Cogan: First I'll arraign you both on the superseding indictment. Have you discussed it?

Barrack's lawyer: Yes. Not guilty on all counts. Grimes' lawyer: On his 2 counts, not guilty. Judge: I'll be deciding on motions soon, all at once.

 Counsel: We'll file a piece of paper renewing our motions to dismiss as to the new indictment - we'll do that Monday. Judge: Fine. Final pre-trial conference August 29 at 9:30. I'll have a Magistrate Judge pick the jury - OK? Counsel: Need to consult with client.

 Defense: We need visibility in to the government's case in chief. We need early disclosure. We learned that US interviewed someone in 2018, that the President wanted Mr. Barrack to be involved with the UAE, exculpatory information

Defense: The US can't know what is exculpatory, since they don't know our defenses. So we need discovery early. Judge: Would you be prepared to make reciprocal discovery? Now the Chapo Guzman case is cited - by the government.

 Assistant US Attorney: We have to be concerned that there is a foreign government with a deep interest in this trial. Witnesses could be subject to reprisal. [Note - UAE is an "ally" of the UN - and is on the UN Security Council, praised daily by  @USUN

Judge: We'll set another Curcio hearing [possible conflict of interest of counsel, can be waived] Parties: June 7 at 5:30 pm.  Also, July 27 at noon. There may be a motion for severance. Adjourned

On March 22, 2022, Judge Cogan held a proceeding and Inner City Press again covered it, thread here:

OK - now in case of indicted United Arab Emirates illegal lobbyist Tom Barrack, a proceeding in EDNY.

Judge  Cogan: When can you file your motion - in 2 weeks? The answer is yes. Defense counsel asks for right to reply.

Judge Cogan: What about the Curcio [possible conflict of interest of counsel] hearing?  Let's do it 5:30 on April 7.

 Judge Cogan: I'd be willing to do the trial by video... [Why not? At least a public listen-only call-in line]

Judge Cogan: Is US going to supersede?  AUSA: We are mindful of trial timing, either way we won't impact it. Judge: When will you know? AUSA: By mid June.

AUSA: Your Honor will see us on May 19 on the CIPA issues. We may know by then. Judge Cogan: What might a superseding indictment look like, do you know? AUSA: We know.

  Judge Cogan: Would it mess up the trial schedule? AUSA: We don't think so. No new CIPA.

Judge Cogan: We have another status conference, say, May 24, 11:30 am. It's been designated complex, so [Speedy Trial Act] time is excluded.  Adjourned. Story soon on with or w/o any  UAEmissionToUN  answers, including on role in #1MDB rip-off

From July 26: Judge Bulsara: Mr. Grimes, I have a document that's called an appearance bond. What's your relationship with Matthew Grimes? A: He's my brother...  I earn $140,000 a year.

 Judge Bulsara: Mr. Grimes, I'm prepared to release you pending trial, provided you understand the conditions. Grimes: I do, your Honor.

Judge Bulsara: You can only travel on a common air carrier. Fund transfers are restricted, as set forth in the bond.

AUSA: This case has been set down for a conference before Judge Cogan on September 2 at 10 am. We request the exclusion of time under the Speedy Trial Act until then

Judge Bulsara: Defense, do you consent? Yes. Judge Bulsara: OK, we are adjourned.

Both defendants entered pleas of “not guilty” to the indictment through their attorneys.  No changes in their bond conditions except that Barrack is now also allowed to travel to the state of Colorado where he will reside at his home in Aspen.  Their first appearance before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan will be on September 2 at 10 a.m.  The government will begin turning over discovery to the defendants.  Grimes’s father was present in the courtroom in Brooklyn today.  Barrack’s ex-wife, son and Barrack’s friend were on videoconference as suretors for his $250 million bond.

The case is USA V. AL MALIK ALSHAHHI et al., 21-cr-371 (EDNY, Cogan, J.)


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