Thomas Barrack, Executive Chairman and CEO of Colony Capital, attends a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 28, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovac | Getty Images
An attorney for Tom Barrack – the private equity investor who is a close friend of former President Donald Trump – urged federal prosecutors on Thursday to swiftly release evidence in their criminal allegation that Barrack illegally established the Trump administration for the United Arab Emirates operated.
Barrack defense attorney Matthew Herrington asked why he has not yet received all or most of this material and said that federal agencies had been collecting evidence related to Barrack, 74, over the past four years.
Herrington raised the issue during the first status conference in the U.S. District Court case in Brooklyn, New York, where Barrack and his associate Matthew Grimes pleaded guilty to indictments clandestinely for the interests of the United States Arab Emirates to work Trump’s 2016 election campaign and then during his presidency.
Barrack is free on a $ 250 million bond, while Grimes is free on a $ 5 million bond. A third defendant, the 43-year-old UAE national, Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, remains at large
Barrack’s attorney found that the documents handed over by prosecutors last month did not even contain material cited in the indictments against Barrack and the 27-year-old Grimes.
Herrington told Judge Brian Cogan that he “suffers from a really profound information asymmetry” as a result.
Prosecutors in criminal proceedings are required to provide defense counsel with evidence that forms the basis of their allegations that a defendant has broken the law.
And they are specifically required to share any information they have that could be used to show that a defendant did not break the law as alleged.
Such potentially exculpatory evidence is known as “Brady Material” after the trial that established the defendants’ rights to such information.
Herrington told Cogan during Thursday’s hearing that prosecutors “take the position that there is no Brady material they have identified at this point, which is surprising to me.”
Herrington said there are allegations in the indictment citing evidence he believes is Brady material.
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US Assistant Attorney Ryan Harris told the judge that prosecutors have handed over 100,000 pages of documents to defense attorneys since Barrack and Grimes’ arrest on July 20 and will continue to provide additional evidence “on an ongoing basis.”
“We did 10 productions [of sets of documents] in about 30 days, “said Harris.
The prosecutor said the government did not consider the evidence used in the indictment to be Brady material, despite allegations made by Barrack’s attorney to the contrary.
When asked by Cogan what percentage of the total evidence the 100,000 pages represented, Harris said, “It’s a little difficult to say.”
However, Harris also said the government expected “significant progress” by the next status conference, tentatively scheduled for November 2nd.
“Do as much as you can,” said Cogan, noting that in the next 30 days prosecutors should be able to give defense attorneys any documents that will be used in the indictment.
Thursday’s hearing lasted just 15 minutes and was conducted via video conference.
When it started, Grimes’ attorney Matthew Schwartz pointed out where Grimes could be seen on the video feed and called it “The Bobby Brady Box.”
Schwartz was dryly referring to the opening credits of the legendary 1970s TV show “The Brady Bunch,” which featured the character of child actor Mike Lookinland Bobby in the lower right corner of nine squares.
Aside from discussing evidence and Brady material – the legal material, not the TV show – and planning the next hearing, the only other topic that was mentioned at length was the possibility of the parties sharing classified information and the trial is used for this.
Herrington said, “We both agree that … [classified] Material that comes from both sides. “
Barrack, who chaired Trump’s founding fund in 2017, stepped down as CEO of Colony Capital in 2020. In April he resigned as Executive Chairman of the company.
Correction: Matthew Schwartz was referring to the opening credits of the 1970s TV show “The Brady Bunch”. An earlier version misidentified him.