On EDNY’s Ongoing Investigation into Tom Barrack and His Not-Yet Indicted Co-Conspirators

In a status hearing on March 21, prosecutors in the Tom Barrack case responded to a question Barrack had posed the day earlier — whether they planned to supersede his indictment — by saying they reserve the right to do so and that it might happen in June.

In a response to Barrack’s claims of discovery hold-ups yesterday, they elaborated on an ongoing investigation into Barrack — and “several” people identified as co-conspirators in the indictment but not yet charged.

The government has made several requests for materials from other executive components of the federal government, and upon receipt of these materials, will promptly disclose any additional items that are discoverable. Additionally, the investigation related to this case is ongoing (we note that one of the charged defendants is a fugitive and the indictment alleges conduct by several unindicted co-conspirators).

There’s at least one person (probably three) whose prior interviews with the FBI are described, but whose names are redacted.

On October 26, 2021, it advised the defendants of statements made by [redacted] during prior interviews with FBI special agents. The government made similar disclosures about statements by [redacted]. These disclosures were made on December 22, 2021, January 14, 2022, January 27, 2022, March 9, 2022 and April 5, 2022.

Defense counsel further requested the underlying notes and FD-302 reports related to the interviews of [redacted] whose discoverable information was previously disclosed to the defense.

It describes that DOJ obtained a good deal of new evidence in the last three months.

By early January 2022, less than six months since indictment, the government substantially completed the disclosure of discoverable material that was currently in its possession. The government has turned over additional material since that time— approximately 80,000 more files—but, with the exception of fewer than 20 files, all of that material came into the government’s possession after January 3, 2022

It describes evidence that, Barrack is sure, would be at Department of Commerce, State, and the White House.

The defendants note that the government “initially took the position that it had no obligation to search for discoverable materials from [other] federal agencies.” See Mot. at 3, 21. The government took and continues to take such a position, because it is legally correct. The defendants argue that the government has a legal obligation to obtain and review materials from other agencies3 because “this is a national security case” and Barrack has had contact with a number of different parts of the federal government. But a case’s status as “a national security case” is not a basis under any existing precedent to impute a duty to obtain and disclose materials held by other agencies.

3 The defendant fails to specify which agencies the prosecution team purportedly has a duty to search, other than to identify “the White House, State Department, Commerce Department and federal intelligence agencies” as examples that a duty to search should be “included but not limited to.” See Mot. at 22.

Even though the government doesn’t think they have to provide everything from those agencies and the White House, they are getting Trump White House documents from the Archives.

Accordingly, the government has requested White House materials from the National Archives and Records Administration and has also requested materials from the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of Commerce.5

5 As previously discussed, the prosecution team recently received and produced to defense counsel the responsive documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

It describes that just because others received similar requests from the Emirates during the Transition or their time in the Administration as Barrack did, it does not make him less guilty.

Similarly, the defendants request information showing that the taskings Barrack carried out for the UAE “are common requests and were made to other members of the transition or administration.” Id. at 9 ¶ 12. This too is an argument, not an actual discovery request, and an irrelevant argument at that. Whether or not other individuals agreed to act at the direction or control of the UAE, or also met with U.S. officials on behalf of the UAE, does not make Barrack more or less guilty in agreeing to act as an unlawful agent of a foreign government.

In other words, since indicting Barrack, DOJ has continued the investigation, including by using materials that have become available since Trump left the White House.

Most of the people described as co-conspirators are Emiratis that the government wouldn’t risk charging.

But Trump officials are named too. Some of the people described in the indictment — most notably Paul Manafort, who recently found himself unable to fly to Dubai because his passport had been revoked — did things on which a 5-year statute of limitations has expired (though there’s a Barrack-related action Manafort took in 2017 that is not yet time-barred).

But that’s not true of the actions of Steve Bannon described in the indictment. The indictment describes this meeting US Person 1 had with MbZ.

On or about September 13, 2017, the defendant MATTHEW GRIMES sent a text message to the defendant RASHID SULTAN RASHID AL MALIK ALSHAHHI stating, “Heads up, [Emirati Official 1]is meeting with [a former United States goverment official (“U.S. Person 1), an individual whose identity is known to the Grand Jury on Friday. Please keep super confidential.” GRIMES furtheradvised ALSHAHHI that the defendant THOMAS JOSEPH BARRACK and GRIMES “worked hard to show [U.S Person 1] how strong of allies we are. Very hard… [BARRACK] spent lots of time.” AL SHAHHI then confirmed with GRIMES that U.S. Person | “was briefed by [BARRACK] a lot on [Emirati Official 1]and his vision.” GRIMES added that BARRACK “worked hard to show our friendship and alliance,” and that BARRACK had met with U.S. Person I many times in the past several weeks [about this meeting” with Emirati Official 1, in which BARRACK was “[c]hampioning [the] UAE.”

Here’s a contemporaneous report of that meeting.

On Monday, Bannon is scheduled to speak at a day-long conference in Washington organized by the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank and paid for by multiple donors, entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood.” The speech follows Bannon’s September meeting in the UAE with its crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan. The two weren’t strangers: Bannon, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with the crown prince at Trump Tower during the presidential transition in December. That meeting triggered controversy, as the UAE hadn’t notified the outgoing Obama administration about the visit as is customary.

The report goes on to report on Bannon’s sustained media campaign — the kind of thing you see in Foreign Agent indictments — attacking Emirate rival, Qatar.

Bannon, who through a spokesman declined to comment for this story, has said little publicly about Qatar. But Breitbart News, the far-right website he ran before going into the White House and where he is now once again ensconced, published more than 80 Qatar-related headlines since the blockade began, most of which were critical of the nation.

“Jihad-Friendly Qatar May Have Inspired Former Gitmo Detainees to Return to Terror,” declared a June 15 headline.

Another, 10 days later, read “Report: Qatari Ruling Family Importing Hezbollah Fighters for Protection.”

Bannon has said he is planning to start a global conference series through Breitbart. “We are in advance discussions about having Breitbart sponsor a major security conference in sub-Saharan Africa, the Persian Gulf, central Europe, and East Asia, in early to mid-2018,” he told Bloomberg recently.

This kind of media campaign is the stuff that can get you charged as an undisclosed foreign agent.

Bannon’s not the only one referred to as a not-yet charged co-conspirator. But he is clearly one of them.

67 replies
  1. viget says:

    Yes, this is totally OT, but I want Marcy to look into this, as I think the $10M bribe investigation is still very alive and well in SDNY.

    Check out this very informative Scott Stedman Twitter thread from 2017 first

    Then, go read the Malofeyev indictment unsealed today by SDNY

    Realize that Karageorgis *is* the “Greek Business Partner” in the indictment and BFF with Malofeyev. And Karageorgis is buddy-buddy with the Greek Defense minister who was in constant contact with Papadopoulos.

    And, the Texas investment? $10M. Where has that number come up before?

    Finally, remind yourselves that Papa was heavily involved with connecting al-Sisi with the Trump campaign…..

    Lots of dots connecting here.

  2. Savage Librarian says:

    A few days ago I happened to think of Alexandra Preate and wondered if she would ever pop back into view. Then I came across this. This can’t be good for Bannon:

    “Jan. 6 Committee Interviews Longtime Steve Bannon Associate Alexandra Preate “ – Hunter Walker, 4/5/22

    “Bannon’s so-called “consigliere” and “shadow press secretary” was among those in attendance at the pre-attack rally in front of the White House on Jan. 6, 2021”


  3. CouldHappenHere says:

    Maybe wishful thinking, but do you think any of this could have tentacles reaching back to the Qatari-based funding of Jared’s 666 Fifth Ave. property?

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the same username each time you comment so that community members get to know you. This is your second user name. Additionally, consistently use the same information in each of the user identification fields including username to avoid auto-moderation. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • Geoguy says:

      He was one of my favorite guests (after Dr. Wheeler of course!) on Sirius XM radio with Michelangelo Signorile.

    • emptywheel says:

      He was a wonderful, generous person, and one of the few doing real criticism of shitty press coverage anymore.

    • BobCon says:

      He did a lot of great yeoman’s work in trying to get press critics to go past simplistic, inadequate critiques that things all boiled down to clicks and revenue.

      He pushed people to think about the ideology and cultural biases that were at work too, and he had success — part of the backlash of the NY Times leadership against media critics was due to the blood he was drawing.

      By focusing on the ways his targets were lying in their defenses of bad reporting, he helped disarm them, and if the dimmer Peter Baker types doubled down, a lot of younger, smarter reporters listened.

    • harpie says:

      I love Marcy’s metaphor that the MOB is the weapon TRUMP used to kill Democracy.

      This is how she said it on twitter:

      10:44 AM · Apr 4, 2022

      The mobilized mob, not bad faith legal theories or even The Big Lie, is the “murder weapon” Trump used to attempt to kill democracy. You need to tie Trump to the murder weapon.

      And Judge Walton has found, logically, that evidence of what Trump was doing in back-rooms is not admissible to prove how (most) individual members of that mobilized mob were mobilized. Only what was public and known to the mobsters is.

      • !? says:

        Once the tie of the public evidence to the mob is settled, would it then allow prosecutors to make the Willard’s backroom shenanigans fair game as they could then show that what the mob did after the public provocations was what was intended by the conspiracy of provocateurs?

    • Eureka says:

      This was a nice discussion. Who are the moderator and upper-left dude (not knowing, felt like one of those social situations where you’re hanging out with neat people you never quite get introduced to).

      I wanted to interrupt once when (it seemed to me that) Wittes was mischaracterizing (or failing to appreciate) the significance of the structure of some of the indictments but Marcy kept chill.

      • harpie says:

        For me, it was really difficult listening to Wittes, who seemed to be mainly trying to bludgeon listeners with his spin on what Marcy’s position is.

        • Eureka says:

          I might have tolerated that better as I’d pre-filed it as along with the ride. But yes one of those instances of his reframings is when I really wanted to interrupt.

    • vvv says:

      Watched it today as I was re-potting some plants.

      In some ways, that seemed action relevant to Mr. Wittes.

      Passed the link along to some friends as a worthy watch, thanks and congrats to Dr. Wheeler.

  4. Molly Pitcher says:

    A lawyerly OT from Politico, via the Daily Beast:
    Oath Keepers’ Lawyer Disbarred in Virginia Over Avalanche of Professional Violations

    “Following a two-day hearing, Jonathan Moseley had his law license revoked…” “…known for representing a number of infamous defendants facing charges over the Jan. 6 insurrection, including leaders of the alt-right Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, [he] has been disbarred by a Virginia state court…” “Among Moseley’s most notorious clients are Kelly Meggs and Stewart Rhodes, two Oath Keeper ringleaders charged with seditious conspiracy; Aaron Whallon Wolkind and Enrique Tarrio, both Proud Boys bosses, and Ali Alexander, a Stop the Steal rally founder.”


    • pdaly says:

      On the one hand, good that his clients will be tied up looking for new counsel. Hoping this will keep them too busy to get into more trouble.

      On the downside, will this cause delay in cases?

      • bmaz says:

        I would expect a little delay, but it may not be much. I could see the courts appointing FPDs and then telling the defendants to hire additional counsel as they wish. But note, I believe Moseley and his clients were warned to get secondary/backup counsel some time ago, and they did not. The court could see this coming.

  5. Molly Pitcher says:

    Merrick Garland has Covid.


    Gee, I guess now that Covid is all over we can all go to giant dinner parties indoors with no masks. Now that everything is hunkydory and all of the cities are repealing their vaccination and mask requirements we can just march blithely along and pretend that the last two years never happened.

    Can we also do that retroactively for the years from 2016-2020, politically ?

  6. Obansgirl says:

    I’m masked up at indoor places every day still. Why not? Anyway this whole Bannon etc. Stuff is just delicious. Thank you so much EW. For keeping me hopeful and sane.

    • Rayne says:

      I have been sitting here since I saw that story break an hour ago with my mouth hanging agape. How did they get that close to Secret Service personnel? Why were personnel that fucking stupid? Or compromised? Has this affected the DOJ’s January 6 investigation?

      And were these foreign agents spying on the JCPOA negotiations, because at least one of the two has an Iranian last name?

      • Eureka says:

        Same, same. The questions…

        Also, not arrested but named by a Daily Mail reporter by tweet (along with the two suspects) was a woman with a Russian name (whose apt. was also raided, if I followed the maze of threads correctly). ???

        [ETA re initial comment: not noted in AP article, but in a different reporter’s thread, was that at least one of the raiding personnel wore an NCIS jacket. So not snark.]

        • P J Evans says:

          Most of the reaction I’ve seen is “Do Not Mess With The Postal Inspectors” – they don’t give up, and they win something like 95% of their cases.

          • Eureka says:

            That’s one of the areas where I have more questions: did DOJ only stumble upon this whole whatever-it-is because of the USPIS investigation of the assault on the postal carrier? Or were other departments aware and watching?

            Did Jill Biden’s SS person report the offer for the assault rifle (so far as I’ve read, that’s the only specific allegation wrt these guys dealing with her direct personnel)?

            • Eureka says:

              These guys remind me of Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman but with guns and stuff — and a bigger budget!

          • gmoke says:

            National Archives Investigaors are no slouches either. Thanks to them we have the documents Trmp took illegally from the White House back.

            Never underestimate a determined and honest bureaucrat. From these investigators to Kanji Watanabe of the great film “Ikiru.”

        • Eureka says:

          That third person named in a reporter’s tweet with a Russian name is not necess. female — name is unisex, trad. male. Resident of a raided apartment per same tweet.

        • Rayne says:

          The other name is Arabic, could be from nearly anywhere in Middle East; Ali is the equivalent of Smith in frequency (not meaning).

          The business Marshall and Ortega were looking at is inactive, name opened in 2014 — same year Russia’s war on Ukraine began in Donbas, same year the P5+1 JCPOA agreed to allow Iranian oil to reenter the market.

          The other business linked to the one incorporated in 2014 was launched in 2011. It has another Arabic name listed as an officer.

          • Eureka says:

            I’m not talking about the second arrestee, Ali. It’s a third, Russian, name given by Daily Mail reporter Katelyn Caralle. Person not arrested or named in other reporting I’ve seen, so that is why I did not link the tweet. Per same tweet, this third person is a resident of a raided apartment.

            Interesting update wrt the businesses Marshall and Ortega were discussing.

            • Rayne says:

              VERY unhappy to see one of the arrested is linked to RAYNE MARKETING LLC. Like I need that hassle.

              The other weird feature is the link at least two of +4 businesses associated with one of the arrested is Missouri incorporation. Why MO of all places?

              ADDER: Think I just saw Laura Rozen mention arrested person 1, Arian Taherzadeh, has ties to the midwest and his mother’s name is Forsberg.

              • Eureka says:

                Well that was the last-straw crazy-wtf-lol about this story that caused me to post it (same spelling and everything, yikes).

                re MO: chosen simply for that heartland feel, or some other association (like committee assignments)?

                Tough to say, not knowing the tentacles or scope / rough draft of what these guys had going on. Also, plans change over time.

                ETA post your adder visible: (home is where the …) heartland it is, then

        • Rayne says:

          Can you point to wherever you saw that woman w/Russian name? I’ve been through a bunch of threads now including DM’s two twitter accounts and haven’t see it. Thanks!

          ADDER: Never mind, once you mentioned the reporter’s name I found the name of third person (not arrested) — Sasha Kuznevsky. Sasha is a common nickname for either Alexander or Alexandra, IIRC; last name suggests a man and not a woman because it’s not the feminine variant (Kuznevskaya).

          ADDER-2: Kuznevsky is most common in Russia, UAE, and Uzbekistan. (Person may not be someone of interest but just in case…)

          • Eureka says:

            Edit after seeing your adder: yep, you’ve got it.

            [I’d also added above that it’s not necessarily female — it’s a unisex name, trad. male.

      • Leoghann says:

        I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about this in the coming days. This can’t be a minor story.

    • Eureka says:

      Other interesting threads/parts from last night:

      The enduring natsec risk of Q-bullshit. See whole thread from here down (click ‘show replies’) for other details:

      Robert Moses: “@Strayarc @LesserFrederick Very normal to have a Russian, who doesn’t seem to exist as far as I can tell, a clear Persian, and a third dude whose name makes literally no sense spending six figures on apartments, cars, bribes, suborning USSS agents, and telling them they fight child crimes in a fake unit [screenshot]”
      11:18 PM · Apr 6, 2022


      “It sure as hell seems like two guys with extremely Persian names were using Q stuff to suborn federal agents, but also that they started doing their ruse a month or so after the Qasem Souleimani assassination” […]

      ^^ also some info on the business associate “James Shellem” who many have noted …

      Re another associate:

      Triste: “@MattOrtega @joshtpm There’s a lot of interesting and similarly named companies and people associated with them. Madeeha came up with Arian for CTI and this page shows some links between people. [name within link preview]’
      11:10 PM · Apr 6, 2022

      ^^ this “Madeeha Jauhar” name of one of their business associates is same as/similar to a Pakistani actress who died in 2018 (the actress’ name is spelled with a “G”: search wants to make these J/G spellings interchangeable).

    • harpie says:

      8:34 PM · Apr 6, 2022

      US: 2 posed as agents, gave gifts to Secret Service officers https://apnews.com/article/us-secret-service-956062f32e02854112b7c52794d202b2 MICHAEL BALSAMO

      […] Prosecutors allege Taherzadeh and Ali had falsely claimed to work for DHS & work on a special task force investigating gang & violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection… They allege the two posed as law enforcement officers to integrate with actual federal agents. […]

      Prosecutors said four Secret Service employees were placed on leave earlier this week as part of the investigation.

      Rozen has screenshots of [I still don’t know what to call these papers…:-{ ]
      The beginning of the SUMMARY:

      From beginning as early as February 2020 through the present […]]

      • harpie says:

        “In furtherance of their false and fraudulent conduct, TAHERZADEH and ALI recruited an individual to be an ‘employee of DHS’ and ‘serve on their task force.’ […]

        The applicant was also assigned to conduct research on an individual that provided support to the Department of Defense & intelligence community

        I know I have J6 on the brain, but this, coming together with mention of February 2020 is making sirens go off.

        8:50 AM · Feb 22, 2022

        Ric Grenell starts as Acting DNI: February 2020. Russia starts hacking the shit out of USG servers via Solar Wind: March 2020.

        Also Ginni [SCOTUS Spouse] THOMAS and her Purge and Replace List.

  7. Jenny says:

    “Darkness is good. Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”
    “Fear is a good thing. Fear is going to lead you to take action.”
    “I’ve got a cure for mental health issue. Spank your children more.”
    Steve Bannon

    • Al Ostello says:

      Congratulations to Steve Bannon !!!

      Bannon is a summa cum laude graduate of Fuck Around And Find Out University.

  8. Thomas says:

    This is good news. I hope that the DOJ is moving closer to the extortion by Kushner, of the Qatar Wealth Fund, during the blockade, to pay off his NY real estate holding.
    Maybe they will also solve the mystery about the $640 million that Kushner and Ivanka acquired while serving as “unpaid White House advisors”

    I want the whole crime family to disappear into prison for the next 25 years.

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