Federal prosecutors question legal fee arrangement in case against former Trump adviser

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Matthew Grimes, an assistant to Barrack at his firm Colony Capital, was charged together with Barrack in July with performing as a again channel for the United Arab Emirates to affect US coverage throughout Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign and his time in workplace. Prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York at the moment are elevating questions on potential conflicts of curiosity after studying that Grimes’ co-defendant and former boss is paying his authorized charges.

In a letter to the choose on Thursday, the prosecutors suggested that they’d lately realized concerning the payment association, during which Barrack “has agreed to advance Grimes’ legal fees.” They requested the choose to inquire with Grimes whether or not he understands the potential battle of curiosity, together with whether or not his’ lawyer will present the perfect authorized recommendation for him or for Barrack, who’s paying his invoice.

“The Fees Agreement, which was executed after the defendants were arrested has the potential to affect defense counsel’s advice, including (1) whether to seek possible leniency by cooperating with the government against Barrack (the party who is paying his legal fees), and (2) whether Grimes should testify in his own defense at trial, where such testimony might implicate Barrack,” the prosecutors wrote.

Grimes’ lawyer Abbe Lowell mentioned, “We have discussed this issue with the government and the response we file will make clear that no issue exists here and any concern raised is misplaced.”

A spokesman for Barrack declined to remark. In a court docket submitting later Thursday, Barracks’ attorneys informed the choose: “We wish to advise the court that this is a matter that we brought to the government’s attention so that the parties could address any issues in advance of any payments. To date, no advancement of fees has occurred, Additionally, the Fee Agreement specifically provides that Mr. Grimes retains and has the right to control his defense in this action, and that his counsel shall take direction from Mr. Grimes alone.”

A beforehand scheduled listening to is the case is about for January 5.

Barrack was charged in a seven-count indictment with performing as an agent of the UAE between April 2016 and April 2018. He was additionally charged with obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal regulation enforcement brokers. According to the indictment, Grimes and Rashid Sultan Rashid Al Malik Alshahhi, a UAE nationwide, capitalized on Barrack’s standing as a senior exterior adviser to the Trump marketing campaign to “advance the interests of and provide intelligence to the UAE while simultaneously failing to notify the Attorney General that their actions were taken at the direction of senior UAE officials.”

Both Grimes and Barrack have pleaded not responsible. Alshahhi fled the US three days after being interviewed by the FBI in April 2018, prosecutors alleged.
Following their arrests earlier this 12 months, a federal choose set Barrack’s bond at $250 million and Grimes’ bond at $5 million, reflecting their flight threat and intensive abroad contacts. In November, Grimes requested to have a GPS-monitoring ankle bracelet eliminated as a result of it interfered with browsing, tennis and job interviews.

At the listening to, Judge Brian Cogan retorted that “he’s already got a pretty big burden for employment.” The choose denied the request, agreeing with prosecutors’ concern about potential international strain to flee in an effort to forestall delicate info from being made public at a trial.

Lowell mentioned there was no threat of flight.

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