Thomas Barrack | Credit: Courtesy

Tom Barrack, an erstwhile part-time Santa Barbara resident and high-flying confidante of former president Donald Trump, was found not guilty by a Brooklyn jury on federal charges of acting as an unregistered agent for a foreign government.

The Justice Department had charged that Barrack, who at one time owned Michael Jackson’s former Neverland Ranch, not to mention a valley winery and downtown tasting room, had acted as an agent and lobbyist on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. attorneys also charged him with obstruction of justice and lying to federal officials. 

Barrack, who led the fundraising effort on behalf of Trump’s inauguration and had acted as avuncular consigliere to the more wild-haired Trump, was acquitted on all charges. The Justice Department depicted Barrack — founder of Colony Capital, a Los Angeles–based real estate and investment company — as playing both sides against the middle in an effort to use his connection with Trump to attract Arab investors to his firm.

According to the Justice Department, UAE wealth management funds invested $374 million into Colony Capital, allegedly because by so doing, they could indirectly ingratiate themselves with a globally renowned Trump whisperer. That amount, Barrack’s defense countered, constituted less than one percent of Colony Capital’s total portfolio.

“God Bless America,” Barrack was quoted saying by other media outlets, “the system works.” 


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