Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the stand on Monday as a prosecution witness in the trial of Tom Barrack, the private equity executive and onetime fundraiser for Donald Trump who has been charged with acting as an illegal foreign agent.
Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn say Barrack, 75, used his influence with Trump's presidential campaign and administration to push the United Arab Emirates' interests without notifying the U.S. attorney general, as required by law.
Barrack has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers have said his contacts with Middle Eastern officials were part of his role running Colony Capital, now known as DigitalBridge Group Inc., and that the U.S. State Department and the then-president himself were aware of Barrack's interactions.
Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, served as Trump's secretary of state for slightly more than a year between 2017 and 2018.
The trial began with jury selection on Sept. 19. So far, prosecutors have displayed emails and text messages indicating that UAE officials provided feedback on what Barrack should write in an opinion article and what Trump, then a candidate, should say in a 2016 energy speech.
Barrack's defense has not yet had the opportunity to cross-examine the FBI agent who read those messages to the jury.
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