Tillerson to be called as witness in trial of former Trump advisor
Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to testify this week in the ongoing trial of Tom Barrack, a billionaire investor who once served as a campaign adviser to former President Trump and is accused of illegally lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Barrack’s attorneys submitted a letter to U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in New York explaining that Tillerson could only testify on Tuesday, citing a scheduling conflict that prevents him from appearing another time this week, according to CBS News.
Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil CEO, served as Trump’s secretary of state from February 2017 to March 2018.
Barrack, a close friend of Trump who chaired the former president’s inauguration, was charged in July 2021 for working on behalf of the UAE as an unidentified foreign lobbyist.
He and his former assistant Matthew Grimes have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Barrack’s trial began late last month in the New York court.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) last year accused Barrack of acting “at the direction of UAE officials” to sway public opinion in favor of the the emirates and to influence the foreign policy positions of the Trump administration from 2016 to 2018.
Barrack allegedly worked language praising the UAE into a May 2016 campaign speech from Trump on U.S. energy policy and allegedly communicated extensively with UAE national Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, who was also charged last year, to draft policies favorable to the UAE.
The indictment also charges Barrack with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal agents.
Barrack is the founder of global investment firm Colony Capital and was an informal adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
From Nov. 2016 to Jan. 2017, Barrack chaired the Presidential Inaugural Committee for Trump.