Rudy Giuliani’s associate, who was indicted in October on campaign finance charges, will cooperate with the House Democrats’ impeachment investigation, his attorneys said Monday.
Lev Parnas is a Ukrainian-American businessman, he made the decision apparently because he was “very upset by President Trump’s plainly false statement that he did not know him,” his lawyer told The New York Times.
Trump said that he did not know Parnas and his close associate Igor Fruman. But the president has been photographed with the pair multiple times.
“I don’t know them. I don’t know about them. I don’t know what they do … Maybe they were clients of Rudy. You’d have to ask Rudy,” Trump said after prosecutors in New York indicted Parnas and Fruman on Oct. 10 on conspiracy charges. These charges were related to alleged straw donations to several Republican politicians.
Democrats in the impeachment probe focused on Trump’s actions with the Ukraine requested documents from Parnas and Fruman on Sept. 30.
Giuliani has maintained for months that in 2016, Biden pressured Ukraine’s president to shut down an investigation of Burisma Holdings, an energy firm that had Hunter Biden as a board member.
Trump spoke about both Yovanovitch and Joe Biden during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This has become a central focus of the impeachment probe. Democrats believe that Trump abused his office by asking Zelensky to investigate the Biden-Burisma issue.
Parnas has denied requests from three congressional committees last month for documents and testimony related to his work with Giuliani. Parnas was represented at the time by John Dowd, who was a former lawyer for Trump on the special counsel’s investigation. He has since retained a new legal team.
“We are willing to comply with the subpoena to the extent that it does not violate any appropriate privilege that Mr. Parnas may properly invoke,” Joseph Bondy, a lawyer for Parnas, told The Times.
Prosecutors alleged that Parnas and Fruman “conspired to circumvent the federal laws against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates for federal and State office so that the defendants could buy potential influence with candidates, campaigns, and the candidates’ government.” They have both pleaded not guilty.