Ex-Giuliani associate Parnas found guilty

Jody Godoy and Luc CohenReuters
"I've always stood and tried to tell the truth," Lev Parnas said after the verdict in New York.
Camera Icon"I've always stood and tried to tell the truth," Lev Parnas said after the verdict in New York. Credit: AP

A federal jury convicted Lev Parnas, a one-time associate of Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, of violating US campaign finance laws during the 2018 elections.

Parnas, a Ukraine-born American businessman and his former associate Igor Fruman were accused of soliciting funds from Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev to donate to candidates in states where the group was seeking licences to operate cannabis businesses in 2018.

Parnas concealed that he and Fruman, who pleaded guilty in September, were the true source of a donation to a group supporting then-president Trump, prosecutors said.

Giuliani's lawyer has said the Parnas case is separate from a probe into whether he violated lobbying laws while representing Trump.

Giuliani, a US prosecutor in the 1980s before he became New York mayor in 1994, has not been charged with any crimes and denies wrongdoing.

Parnas was charged with violating federal laws prohibiting foreigners from contributing to US election campaigns and barring donors from making contributions in the names of others.

Andrey Kukushkin, a Muraviev associate and California resident who was tried alongside Parnas, was found guilty on Friday of campaign finance violations.

The trial has drawn attention because of the role Parnas and Belarus-born US citizen Fruman played in helping Giuliani, who was Republican Trump's personal lawyer while he held office, to investigate Democrat Joe Biden during the 2020 presidential campaign. Biden won the election, denying Trump a second term.

"I've never hid from nobody," said Parnas as he left court the Manhattan court. "I've always stood and tried to tell the truth."

His lawyer Joseph Bondy said they would file a motion to vacate the verdict "in the interest of justice".

Oetken sent a sentencing date of February 16 for Kukushkin, and did not set a sentencing date for Parnas given that he faces another possible trial on separate fraud charges.

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