Trump ally heckled as he enters court in New York City

A familiar face was waiting outside court in New York City today as one of Donald Trump’s longtime associates, businessman Tom Barrack, arrived to face the charges against him.

Mr Barrack, a wealthy investor, has known the former US president since the 1980s. Addressing the Republican National Convention during the 2016 election campaign, he described Mr Trump as “one of my closest friends for 40 years”.

He was the chairman of Mr Trump’s inaugural committee.

Last week, he was arrested on charges of failing to register as a foreign agent, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.

RELATED: Prosecutors charge Trump Organisation and its CFO

Mr Barrack and three other defendants stand accused of conspiring to act as agents of the United Arab Emirates, and then trying to influence the foreign policy of both the 2016 Trump campaign and the Trump administration.

The businessman was released on a bail of $US250 million ($339 million) on Friday.

Today he was arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn, where he pleaded not guilty. His next court appearance has been scheduled for September 2.

Mr Barrack was heckled on his way into the courthouse.

“It’s our democracy, not yours,” one person shouted at him.

“It’s our democracy, a**hole.”

And that aforementioned familiar face was lurking in the background: an elderly man in sunglasses, bearing a sign with the word “traitor”.

We’ve seen this man a few times before. He also showed up to photobomb Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and political adviser Roger Stone at their own court appearances in New York.

Both of those men were pardoned by Mr Trump after the 2020 election, but before he left office on January 20.

As a result, Manafort was spared from serving most of his seven-and-a-half year prison sentence for financial crimes, including fraud, and obstruction of justice.

Mr Trump had previously commuted the sentence of Mr Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction.

Both men were ensnared as part of the investigation into Russia’s election interference.

Prosecutors say Mr Barrack used his influence to insert pro-United Arab Emirates language in one of Mr Trump’s campaign speeches in 2016, and fed “non-public” information about the Trump government to the UAE.

“The defendants repeatedly capitalised on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the US media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government, without disclosing their true allegiances,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko said when he was charged.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former president.

“The defendants, using their positions of power and influence in a presidential election year, engaged in a conspiracy to illegally advance and promote the interests of the United Arab Emirates, in flagrant violation of their obligation to notify the attorney general of their activities and in derogation of the American people’s right to know when a foreign government seeks to influence the policies of our government.”

The FBI’s Assistant Director in Charge, William Sweeney, also issued a statement.

“This case is about secret attempts to influence our highest officials, and when that corrupt behaviour was discovered, we allege Mr Barrack went even further, obstructing and lying to FBI special agents.

Each of those bad choices is a federal felony, and each now comes with significant consequences.”

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