FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 3, 2022


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JANM Condemns the Comparison of Tom Barrack to the Late Honorable Norman Y. Mineta and the World War II Incarceration of Japanese Americans During Trial

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) condemns the comparison of the prosecution of Tom Barrack to the late Honorable Norman Y. Mineta and the unjust incarceration of more than 125,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. Barrack, a private equity executive and fundraiser for former President Donald Trump, is charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to the FBI. 

Barrack’s defense attorney, Randall Jackson, compared his client’s prosecution to the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans in his closing arguments on November 1, 2022. 

“It was done under the theory that these people could possibly, maybe, be engaged in something like espionage. Or that they could be possibly, maybe, be subject to the direction and control of the Japanese government,” said Jackson.  

Jackson also likened Barrack to Mineta, the former chairman of the JANM Board of Trustees who was incarcerated at Heart Mountain during World War II. He represented his hometown of San Jose in the House of Representatives for over twenty years. The first Asian American appointed to a Presidential cabinet, he was named Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton in 2000 and was named Secretary of Transportation by President George W. Bush in 2001, a position he held until 2006. Secretary Mineta was recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006, America’s highest civilian award, and in 2012, he was awarded JANM’s Distinguished Medal of Honor. He passed away on May 3, 2022.

“The World War II incarceration of over 125,000 Japanese Americans should never be taken lightly. Analogies like Jackson’s only denigrate and diminish the trauma that many incarcerees felt long after the war was over and insults Secretary Mineta’s legacy and life-long accomplishments. He was a national hero, who inspired the Asian American community and uplifted the nation,” said Ann Burroughs, President and CEO.