With Trump set to face trial over his handling of classified documents, Pratt is now among more than 80 people that prosecutors have identified as possible witnesses who could testify against the former president.
But as the chief executive of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries, he is also one of Australia’s most prominent business figures, so the headlines surrounding him at a time when Albanese is in the US for a state dinner have proven somewhat delicate.
The last state dinner for an Australian leader at the White House was held four years ago when then prime minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny, joined Trump and his wife, Melania, at a head table that also included Pratt, News Corp executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch and golfer Greg Norman.
This year, however, Pratt is not expected to attend Wednesday’s event, according to a source familiar with this week’s plans, who was not authorised to speak publicly.
The Australian businessman has kept a low profile lately, but in September appeared in Kentucky alongside Ambassador to the US, Kevin Rudd, and Ambassador to Australia, Caroline Kennedy, where Pratt Industries opened a new a paper recycling plant. In a tweet at the time, Rudd applauded the business for “kicking goals” in the US.
The charges Trump faces over classified documents relate to material the former president took after leaving the White House in 2021 and which were stored in boxes all over his Mar-a-Lago resort, including “in a ballroom, a bathroom and shower, an office space, his bedroom, and a storage room”.
They included information relating to nuclear programs and military vulnerabilities, to intelligence that should have only been shared with the intelligence heads of the Five Eyes” countries, including Australia.
But they are not the only charges the former president faces as he seeks the Republican nomination to run for office again next year.
Trump is also facing a trial in Washington for attempting to overthrow the 2020 election results, a trial in Georgia for election subversion in that state, and a trial in New York over hush money payments paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.
For the past few weeks, however, he has been preoccupied with a civil fraud trial in Manhattan, which could ultimately seal the fate of his real estate empire.
In that case, New York Attorney-General Letitia James has accused Trump, his sons and their family business of fraudulently inflating the value of his properties to get better loan terms and lower insurance premiums.
Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen backed up this allegation on Tuesday (US time) testifying that he and former Trump Organisation chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg would manipulate financial statements based on what Trump wanted his net worth to reflect.
Trump, however, rejected this, saying outside court that Cohen – who went to jail in 2018 for campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other things – was a “felon” and “proven liar”.
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