Lev Parnas: Prosecutors expected to close case against Giuliani associate this week

Over three days of testimony last week, prosecutors conveyed to jurors a pay-to-play scheme by Parnas and his co-conspirators to change marketing campaign donations for political capital they’d hoped to money in for hashish business licenses.

A “Russian tycoon” wired $1 million to Parnas to “infiltrate American elections,” prosecutor Aline Flodr mentioned throughout opening statements.

And regardless of having little cash of his personal, Parnas tried to garner affect and standing in circles of distinguished GOP figures taking “credit score for giant political donations when in actuality it was by no means his cash to provide.”

Parnas faces costs associated to 2 alleged marketing campaign finance schemes. In a single, prosecutors say Parnas and one other Giuliani affiliate, Igor Fruman — who has pleaded guilty — conspired in 2018 to skirt marketing campaign contribution limits and falsely report contributions to the Federal Election Fee by concealing the donations by way of an organization prosecutors say was a entrance for political dealings.

Andrey Kukushkin, who can also be on trial, allegedly conspired and aided Parnas in coordinating straw donations on behalf of his Russian monetary backer to achieve favor with politicians in states with a authorized marijuana business, prosecutors say.

“These males shoveled hundreds and hundreds of {dollars} of international cash to US politicians, laughing about how they have been breaking the regulation alongside the way in which,” Flodr mentioned.

Texas Rep. Pete Classes’ former chief of employees is predicted to testify Monday to donations Parnas and Fruman made to Classes’ marketing campaign. A high fundraising official for the pro-Trump America First Motion Tremendous PAC Joseph Ahearn can also be anticipated to testify to interactions with the lads and a $325,000 donation at concern for Parnas since a 2018 Federal Elections Fee grievance.

Final week jurors noticed textual content messages from Ahearn pushing for Parnas to make good on giant donation commitments to America First Motion to safe VIP entry to GOP candidates and occasions.

The trial continues practically two years to the day when Parnas and Fruman have been arrested at a Washington-area airport as they have been boarding a flight to Vienna. The arrest got here amid the Home Democrats’ investigation — and eventual impeachment trial — of then-President Donald Trump and launched two unknown Florida businessmen with shaky observe data onto the worldwide stage.

Attorneys per an settlement will not talk about Parnas’ life crisscrossing Europe with Rudy Giuliani to compile what he claimed to be damaging info on then-presidential-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter, however there’s been no scarcity of references to Trump and his private lawyer.

Prosecutors have proven jurors a number of pictures of Parnas and Fruman grinning subsequent to Trump, Giuliani and different high-profile GOP figures like Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Nevada connection

Nevada politician Adam Laxalt, who ran a failed gubernatorial bid in 2018 and is now operating for US Senate, first met Parnas by way of an introduction from Giuliani on a smoke-filled balcony throughout an occasion on the Trump Worldwide Lodge in Washington, DC, he testified Friday.

Parnas was fast to supply assist fundraising within the final weeks of the marketing campaign, a dedication he fell quick on, in accordance with Laxalt. Laxalt admitted to “bombarding” Parnas for cash regardless of pondering Parnas was a “clownish man with a gold chain.”

Laxalt mentioned he felt Parnas was an “odd character” who was solely round for the pictures, however continued to push the Ukrainian businessman for cash as a result of his close-personal good friend DeSantis vouched for Parnas and Fruman as well-known donors in Florida.

The 2 by no means mentioned political help with a hashish enterprise, in accordance with Laxalt.

As a candidate operating towards the growth of leisure marijuana in Nevada, Laxalt mentioned he was the improper man to ask.

Laxalt recounted organising a dinner with Parnas at an “outdated mob joint” in Las Vegas that fall. Nevada politician Wes Duncan, who misplaced his lawyer normal race that 12 months and likewise testified within the trial, attended the dinner.

Each Laxalt and Duncan accepted donations from Fruman by way of Parnas that tied to costs within the case. The politicians finally returned the cash when it was flagged suspicious.

Parnas’ lawyer has chalked up the FEC violations as trustworthy errors by Parnas who he says is not well-educated nor an skilled on complicated marketing campaign finance rules.

Laxalt testified that he acknowledged Fruman’s face in a photograph of the 2 with Parnas at a marketing campaign occasion, however could not keep in mind his title and did not keep in mind talking to him at any level. He additionally mentioned he acknowledged Kukushkin in a photograph as somebody who hung round Parnas however did not know him both.

Oetken didn’t allow a line of questioning about Laxalt’s present pursuit of a US Senate seat. No questions have been requested about Laxalt’s position as a marketing campaign chair for Trump in Nevada nor his efforts to discredit election leads to Trump’s loss in Nevada.

Prosecutors argue that Parnas with Fruman created a pretend firm International Vitality Producers to funnel political donations by way of, together with the $325,000 to America First Motion.

Protection lawyer Joseph Bondy aimed to discredit Parnas’ former worker Deanna Janse Van Rensburg, stating inconsistencies in her testimony with earlier statements she’d made to the FBI.

Van Rensburg testified throughout cross examination that she recalled telling the FBI in 2019 that she noticed the lads do what regarded like legit vitality enterprise. Van Rensburg will proceed on the stand Monday.

Bondy wouldn’t affirm to the court docket whether or not Parnas will testify on his personal behalf.

Attorneys for Kukushkin mentioned they don’t plan to name any witnesses of their protection case.

They’ve declined to cross study a number of witnesses up to now, and lawyer Gerald Lefcourt informed jurors in his opening assertion that Kukushkin is a only a low-level bussinessman wrongfully caught up on this case — pointing to Fruman and the Russian “tycoon” for executing the marketing campaign donations scheme.

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