Elliott Broidy, a prominent contributor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and a close friend of the president’s son Eric, was charged by federal prosecutors with conspiring to bribe a UAE official to facilitate work on a project that could benefit a wealthy Saudi royal, acting as a foreign agent.
Federal prosecutors disclosed the allegations, which date back to 2017, in a sealed complaint dated Monday night, but sent the document to the judge presiding over the criminal case at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday morning. The charge against Broidy, a former Los Angeles Dodgers executive who has also been a Hollywood power player, was made public Tuesday morning.
The case is the latest twist in a bitter custody battle between Broidy and his estranged wife, who is seeking to block him from pushing through a $100 million payment that she claims he promised her in exchange for her silence about an extramarital affair with him.
It comes as Broidy is one of many donors being drawn into the probe of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, which has emerged as a series of probes into the Trump administration.
Broidy, the senior deputy finance chairman of the Trump campaign, raised nearly $3 million for Trump’s campaign in 2016. He and a slate of billionaire donors who back the president’s agenda have consistently been courted by the president.
He serves on the board of the nonprofit Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a longtime campaign finance arm of the conservative Koch brothers network, and was a fundraiser for Trump’s inauguration.
He has been a frequent visitor to the White House, including at a State of the Union reception on Monday night, with Trump and his son Eric, who was also in attendance.
Broidy and Eric Trump were among a small group of guests who hosted a party at their Los Angeles residence that evening to celebrate the president’s State of the Union speech.
Many in Broidy’s circle of donors and friends were in Washington to await the announcement of Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director, Gina Haspel, a strong supporter of an aggressive policy toward Iran.
Broidy made the trip to Washington from L.A. on Sept. 27, a day after his criminal case was filed, according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Broidy is also facing a separate allegation that he aided a separate foreign influence campaign.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have also alleged that Broidy violated campaign finance laws while setting up a nonprofit to do work on behalf of a business linked to a wealthy Saudi prince. Broidy has denied wrongdoing in both cases.
It was not immediately clear what role, if any, Broidy would play in the cases in Los Angeles or Manhattan.
The complaint filed in L.A. alleges that Broidy and David J. Pecker, the publisher of the National Enquirer, conspired to pay confidential communications to UAE officials, including Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, “in exchange for significant financial and personal support and favors from” the prince.
According to prosecutors, Pecker, who is a friend of Broidy’s and a longtime business associate, told officials of the UAE “it was not illegal to pay the New York-based private investigator, Howard Lutnick, $1.4 million to conceal the nature of an agreement in which [Broidy] secretly agreed to pay Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan more than $100 million for exclusive rights to Lorenzo Fortunato, a Hollywood producer, to develop a movie and television series based on the Al Nahyan family’s own history of ownership of major businesses in the United States.”
The charges also allege that Broidy provided damaging information about Libya’s former dictator Moammar Khadafy for Pecker’s company, American Media Inc., to publish in the 1990s.
Broidy and Pecker were slated to appear in court at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Broidy’s attorney, Lanny Davis, a former spokesman for the Clinton administration, declined to comment. Pecker’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.