Monday, 06 July, 2020

Prosecutors: ‘We Think a Superseding Indictment’ Against Rudy Giuliani’s Associates Is ‘Likely’

Lev Parnas and his wife Svetlana arrive at the United States Courthouse in New York Dec. 2 2019 Mike Segar Reuters Ukrainian American businessman Lev Parnas and his wife Svetlana arrive at the United States Courthouse in New York Dec. 2 2019
Deanna Wagner | 05 December, 2019, 01:49

New charges are likely in a criminal campaign finance case against Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, a federal prosecutor said on Monday.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY and FBI investigators are making their way through what prosecutor Douglas Zolkind called a "voluminous" amount of evidence in the case - around 9 gigabytes' worth.

However, the prosecutor said no firm decision has been made on whether to file additional charges.

Parnas appeared in court on Monday, but the other three defendants - Fruman, as well as Andrey Kukushkin and David Corriea - were not present.

The indictment unsealed another day accused Parnas and Fruman of creating prohibited sock donations, including $325,000 into some pro-President Donald Trump political action committee.

Although Giuliani has not been charged, the wide net prosecutors have cast, combined with a mountain of evidence at their disposal, raises some concerns.

Parnas and Fruman were helping Giuliani in an effort to get the government of Ukraine to launch investigations of former Vice President Joe Biden and of a conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 USA presidential election.

And a superseding indictment - which could add to or modify the existing charges - is likely, prosecutors said on Monday, but also adding that they're continuing to evaluate the case. Trump has said the impeachment probe is politically motivated and called it a witch hunt.

FTSE extends slide as Trump's tariff salvo dents sentiment
As such, it signifies a potential new phase in his trade wars in which foreign-exchange markets are the battleground. He explained the move as a measure to protect American steel and aluminum factories from overseas competition.

Several witnesses have testified to the committee that Giuliani skirted USA diplomacy in his communications with Ukrainian officials.

Zolkind also opposed a request by Parnas for more lenient home detention conditions, saying there's a risk he would flee because of his ties to Ukraine and a "billionaire oligarch in Vienna" now fighting extradition to the U.S. The reference was likely to Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who lives in Austria and is facing prosecution in Chicago for overseas bribery.

While the subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee has yet to be made public, Bondy said the document seeks "everything" seized by prosecutors.

That effort, and Trump's participation in it, are the subject of ongoing impeachment proceedings against Trump in the House of Representatives.

Prosecutors said they worked with two other men charged in the case, Andrey Kukushkin and David Correia, in a separate scheme to channel donations from a Russian businessman to USA politicians in order to support a proposed marijuana business. According to the indictment, their campaign donations played a role in the pressure campaign to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.

Kukushkin and Correia are also charged in the case and are expected to appear at Monday's hearing.

The House, meanwhile, is plunging into a landmark impeachment week, with Democrats who once hoped to sway Republicans now facing the prospect of an ever-hardening partisan split over the historic question of removing Trump from office.

Departing Monday for a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in London, Trump also criticized the House for pushing forward with proceedings while he was heading overseas, a breach of political decorum that traditionally leaves partisan differences at the water´s edge.