The political prosecution of Thomas Barrack collapses as a federal court jury finds him not guilty of all 9 charges

At the tail end of the indictment and lying in wait was the criminal forfeiture allegation. If he was found guilty of count 3 for obstruction of justice, the government would seek to forfeit “any property, real or personal, constituting, or derived from, proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of such offense”. If the property alleged to be tied to the offense cannot be located or easily grabbed, then the odious “substitute funds provision” will kick in, and the Department of Justice will seek to seize and forfeit items of his property that were not associated with the offense, but that came to a value equal to the property that he allegedly obtained as a result of the offense. In other words, “Heads I win, tails you lose”.

I have not seen the so-called progressives or liberals or conservatives pushing for the repeal of the substitute funds provision of the criminal forfeiture law, or even to tighten up the procedures to reduce the abuse of the civil forfeiture law associated with criminal cases.

Filing the criminal case for political retaliation is not the only problem. After Thomas Barrack was arrested in California on 20 July 2021, he remained incarcerated in detention and was shipped across the country to Brooklyn, New York for an in-person arraignment hearing before a federal magistrate. Keeping in mind that he was charged with failing to register as a lobbyist with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and making false statements to the FBI, can you guess what his bail and conditions of release were?

A nine-page release order required that Barrack post a $250 million dollar bail ($250,000,000), of which he had to deposit $5 million cash ($5,000,000) with the court clerk. Plus, he had to get three people to sign as sureties on a bail bond who would be individually liable for $250 million if Barrack failed to show up for court. Plus, he had to put up other property, including real estate, as collateral for the bail. Plus, restrictions were placed on how he can travel, where he can travel, who he can have contact with, types of financial transactions he can engage in, and the amounts in financial transactions. Plus, he was placed on a curfew and was subject to GPS monitoring. Although it seems surprising that Barrack agreed to those terms, he is a person who — from his business experience — thinks ahead and who could see the machinations that were going on. Knowing that he could meet the terms, he agreed to something that the prosecution could not refuse or dispute. This got him released from detention so he could concentrate on analyzing the case and preparing a defense.

When the case was filed against Thomas Barrack in 2021, Joe Biden was in office and Merrick Garland had unfortunately been confirmed as Attorney General.

Looking at the time frame, the game was different when it came to Steve Wynn, who first became known as a Las Vegas casino operator, and who developed a casino business in Macau, a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China. By a letter dated 16 May 2018, the DOJ advised Wynn that he needed to register as an agent of a foreign principal under FARA. Some back and forth letter writing then took place, with Wynn saying that he did not have to register. On 13 April 2022, the DOJ sent what amounted to a final letter telling Wynn he did have to file with the Attorney General.

On 17 May 2022, the DOJ filed a civil lawsuit — not a criminal case — under FARA against Steve Wynn in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, under case number 1:22-cv-1372. The original complaint said the case was brought–

“… to compel the Defendant, Stephen A. Wynn, pursuant to 22 U.S.C. section 618(f), to submit a true and complete registration statement, and supplements thereto, to the Attorney General, as required by 22 U.S.C. section 612(a)-(b). Defendant is obligated to file these materials by virtue of his acting as an agent of two foreign principals: Sun Lijun (‘Sun’), the former Vice Minister for Public Security in the People’s Republic of China (‘PRC’), and the PRC itself.”

Say what? Do you mean to tell me that the DOJ alleged that Wynn was acting as an agent of Sun Lijun, the former Vice Minister for Public Security, or as we would say, the Department of Homeland Security? In the People’s Republic of China, also known as the alter ego of the Communist Party of China? And that he was acting as an agent for the Chinese government itself? The DOJ further said–

“2. Specifically, at the request of Sun, and on behalf of the PRC, the Defendant conveyed to former President Donald J. Trump and his Administration (‘the Trump Administration’) the PRC’s request to remove from the country a PRC national who had sought political asylum in the United States. In so doing, from at least June 2017 through at least August 2017, the Defendant acted as an agent for foreign principals Sun and the PRC and engaged in political activities on their behalf in the United States.

“3. The Defendant therefore has an obligation under FARA to register with the Attorney General. 22 U.S.C. section 612(a).”

The civil lawsuit against Wynn was dismissed “without prejudice” on 12 October 2022, based on an interpretation of an earlier opinion of the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and section 612(a) of FARA [3]. The obligation to file under FARA was said to expire “when the agent ceases activities on behalf of the foreign principal”. The trial court’s memorandum opinion discussed the existence of the claim that Wynn acted as an agent from June 2017 until sometime in October 2017. The interpretation of FARA for purposes of a civil case meant that Wynn did not have to file a registration after October 2017, and could not be compelled to do so after the fact.

However, the part of FARA that creates a federal crime for not registering as an agent for a foreign principal has a five-year statute of limitations in which to bring a criminal case. If it was established that Wynn was acting as an agent of the Chinese government and its Vice Minister for Public Security from June to October 2017, the DOJ could have filed a criminal case against Wynn by or before sometime in October 2022.

According to the federal district court’s opinion on pages 6 and 7 dismissing the civil FARA case against Wynn, we learn that–

“Meanwhile, for their part in the lobbying campaign, Broidy and Davis — each of whom was present at the initial meeting organized by Low in May 2017 — have since pled guilty to counts related to criminal violations of FARA. See United States v. Broidy, No. 20-210 (D.D.C. Oct. 20, 2020); United States v. Davis, No. 20-68 (D. Hawaii). Michel awaits trial on an indictment that includes multiple counts related to FARA violations. See United States v. Michel, No. 19-148 (D.D.C.). DOJ, however, has not initiated a criminal prosecution against Wynn for his 2017 activities.”

The House of Representatives held former Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt on 28 June 2012 for failing to “produce documents to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as directed by subpoena”. Holder was Attorney General during the Barack Obama adminstration for around six years beginning on 3 February 2009. Holder refused to turn over some documents and information relating to the “Fast and Furious” gun running scandal into Mexico [4]. A criminal charge arising from the contempt for refusing to provide documents and information was not filed against Holder.

The DOJ, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, filed a criminal FARA case against Thomas Barrack alleging lobbying for the United Arab Emirates. It did not file a criminal FARA case against Steve Wynn for allegedly lobbying for the Vice Minister for Public Security for the People’s Republic of China and for the Chinese Communist government itself.

The Department That Calls Itself Justice and Garland have brought criminal charges against Thomas Barrack, Steve Bannon, and Peter Navarro, who were all prominent in Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign or in his administration. On 8 August 2022, a search warrant was executed at Trump’s Florida residence. The appointment of a special master in a lawsuit filed by Trump after the raid to evaluate most of the items seized has slowed the train down a little. The FBI, which is part of the DOJ, has seized the cellular phones of numerous people, including attorneys, who were associated in some way with political activity by Trump, and from persons who have expressed opinions and produced information relating to voting fraud.

The mask has slipped off.

This is the real thing: the expression of centralized intimidation and coercion for political purposes, disguised as legal procedures.

[1] The jury verdict of not guilty.


[3] Title 22, U.S. Code, section 612(a). Registration statement.

[4] The House Resolution 711 of the 112th Congress, 2011-2012, finding Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The 270-page Report of the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform underlying the resolution to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

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5 Responses to The political prosecution of Thomas Barrack collapses as a federal court jury finds him not guilty of all 9 charges

  1. scott s. says:

    As they say, the average person commits three felonies a day.

    • Valuenotfound says:

      I think may be a little benign. I think this was more malignant. Think along the lines of “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime.”

      • Bill Roche says:

        A country which has a two tiered justice system has no justice. Such is America. The dem. party has b/c a wholly socialist party which believes punishment is appropriate for dissent. Thus my insistence on the DOIJ, the FIB, and the CDIA. Imagine a political party which punishes those who “don’t get w/t program”. That is Stalin’s Russia. Democrats loyal to America can not want this for their political party. Can they??

        • Al says:

          BR, the right wing REPUBS sure had a hard time trying to get convictions for lies via Barr’s Spec Prosecution. It goes both ways
          Some seem to be looking at the realities of politics only thru a right eye lens! Try using both your eyes!

  2. cobo says:

    For political crimes that can be covered over throughout a political party’s time in power, I don’t think there should be any “statute of limitations.” The then current representative of “the people,” should be able to clean up any mess any political cabal leaves behind.

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