By Robert Willmann
The U.S. Constitution in the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to a jury trial “in all criminal prosecutions”. Notice that the federal constitution does not give you the right to a jury trial in all civil cases, and limits it in the Seventh Amendment to “Suits at common law”. This difference has opened the door to mischief by Congress and the courts regarding civil lawsuits and proceedings. Exercising his right to a jury trial, Thomas Barrack, now 75 years old, was found not guilty of a nine-count indictment in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn, New York City . During the six-week trial, which ended with the verdict on Friday, 4 November 2022, he testified on the witness stand for several days in his own behalf, even though he could have asserted his right not to. His assistant, Matthew Grimes, was tried at the same time on two of the charges and was also found not guilty.
A friend of Donald Trump, Barrack was an informal advisor and also served as the head of Trump’s inaugural committee. Last year in July 2021, we discussed the case after Barrack was arrested, and I mentioned some of his extensive accomplishments . After the case got underway in court, the original charging document was replaced on 16 May 2022 by a “superseding indictment”. It charged a violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in count 1, and in count 2, it alleged the crime of conspiracy to violate FARA, claiming that he acted as a lobbyist for the United Arab Emirates without registering with the Attorney General. It charged obstruction of justice in count 3, claiming that on or about 20 June 2019, Barrack did corruptly obstruct, influence and impede a federal grand jury investigation in the Eastern District of New York, and also attempted to do so. Counts 4 through 9 alleged that again on 20 June 2019, he made “material” false statements to the FBI.