Former President Donald Trump's billionaire ally Thomas Barrack pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges of illegal lobbying for the United Arab Emirates, putting the case on course for a possible trial.
Barrack entered his plea to seven criminal counts before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sanket Bulsara in Brooklyn.
The charges against Barrack, 74, included secretly lobbying the Trump administration for the UAE between 2016 and 2018, and lying to investigators about dealings with the Middle Eastern country.
Barrack chaired Trump's 2017 inaugural fund and was a frequent guest at the White House.
In an indictment unsealed last week, federal prosecutors accused three people - Barrack, his former employee Matthew Grimes, and an Emirati businessman - of failing to register as lobbyists, and of using their influence to advance the UAE's foreign policy in the United States.
Grimes pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and illegal lobbying charges on Monday. The third defendant is at large.
Barrack founded the digital infrastructure-focused private equity firm DigitalBridge Group Inc, known as Colony Capital Inc before a rebranding announced in June.
His blank-check acquisition firm Falcon Peak Acquisition Corp withdrew an initial public offering registration on Friday after the charges were unsealed.
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