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Jury to begin deliberations in ex-Giuliani associate’s U.S. campaign finance case -Breaking


© Reuters. Lev Parnas is a Ukrainian-American businessman who was once an associate of Giuliani. He arrives with Joseph Bondy, his attorney, at the United States Court in Manhattan, New York City. October 21st, 2021. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

By Luc Cohen

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A jury will begin deliberating Friday on the case against Lev Parnas. He is a former Rudy Giuliani associate and is charged with violating U.S. Campaign Finance laws by hiding the source of contributions to politicians.

Parnas was accused of using money from Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev in order to support U.S. candidates at various federal and state elections. Parnas was a U.S. citizen born in Ukraine and wanted to be able to license cannabis-related businesses.

The closing arguments between defense and prosecution were completed in Manhattan’s federal court on Thursday.

Assistant U.S. attorney Hagan Scotten stated that “it is obvious as day that these defendants consented to donate Muraviev’s money to U.S. politics campaigns.”

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Parnas is also being tried for Muraviev’s associate Andrey Kukushkin from Ukraine.

Joseph Bondy, Parnas attorney described his client in his closing statement as an enthusiastic proponent for marijuana legalization and was “in far over his head”. He said that Muraviev’s funds funded business operations and not campaign donations.

Kukushkin’s lawyer Gerald Lefcourt said that Kukushkin was solely focused on his cannabis business, and not campaign contributions.

Parnas’ former business partner and Belarusian citizen Igor Fruman pleaded guilty to soliciting campaign contributions from foreigners in September. His sentencing date is Jan. 21.

Parnas’ and Fruman’s role in Giuliani’s investigation into Democrat Joe Biden during his 2020 presidential campaign has attracted attention. Trump was denied a second term by Biden, who won the November election.

Giuliani’s lawyer has stated that the Parnas case was separate from the probe into whether former federal prosecutor, New York City Mayor and New York City attorney violated lobbying laws when he represented Trump.

Giuliani is not being charged for any offenses and denies wrongdoing.

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