Tillerson to be called as a witness in the trial of a foreign agent of a Trump ally According to Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rex Tillerson, former chairman and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil and former U.S. secretary of state, leaves the New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., October 30, 2019. REUTERS / Jefferson Siegel

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be called by federal prosecutors as a witness in the trial of Tom Barrack, a one-time fundraiser for former President Donald Trump, on charges of activism. illegally as a foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates, a court filing showed on Saturday.

Barrack’s defense revealed the plan in a letter to US District Judge Brian Cogan, which asked Tillerson to take a stand on Monday. The defense said prosecutors had confirmed they would call Tillerson, but informed the defense that he would not be available after October 4 due to “personal plans”.

Letting Tillerson testify on Monday will ensure that the defense has enough time to re-examine him, Barrack’s attorneys said.

Barrack’s lawyers said the State Department and Trump himself were aware of his contacts with Middle Eastern officials, suggesting Barrack had no intention of becoming a foreign agent.

Tillerson could not be immediately reached for comment.

A spokesman for the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn, where Barrack is being tried, declined to comment.

Barrack has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers said his interactions with Emirati officials were part of his role in running the private equity firm Colony Capital, now known as DigitalBridge Group Inc. (N:) and there is no evidence that he agreed to act at the direction of the UAE.

Tillerson, a former executive at ExxonMobil (NYSE:), served as Trump’s secretary of state for more than a year from 2017 to 2018.

The trial began with jury selection on September 19. In the first week, prosecutors presented emails and text messages from Barrack and an associate showing UAE officials provided provide input on what then-candidate Trump should say in his 2016 energy policy speech.

Prosecutors said Barrack never told the US attorney general that he was operating as a UAE agent, as required by federal law.

In his opening statement, Barrack’s attorney Michael Schachter said there was no evidence that Barrack agreed to act at the direction of the UAE. The defense has yet to have a chance to double-check the FBI agent who read the emails and text messages to the jury.


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