crime and punishment

Giuliani Ally Lev Parnas Convicted of Campaign Finance Charges

Lev Parnas. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Lev Parnas, the sketchy Florida businessman who became an infamous associate of Rudy Giuliani’s during the Trump administration, was convicted of multiple federal campaign-finance charges on Friday. A Manhattan jury took less than six hours of deliberation to return guilty verdicts on all six counts Parnas faced.

Prosecutors alleged that Parnas had schemed with co-conspirators to use foreign money to donate to political candidates in several states in the hopes of buying favorable treatment for a cannabis company he and Igor Fruman, another Giuliani buddy, had been trying to launch. Parnas was also convicted on counts related to a $325,000 donation in 2018 to the Trump-backing America First Action Super PAC, which was the first donation Parnas made that drew scrutiny from the Federal Election Commission.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested by the FBI in 2019 while attempting to leave the country. The pair also worked with Giuliani to try to dig up politically damaging dirt in Ukraine on Joe Biden, and their involvement became a major storyline in the Trump’s subsequent impeachment over the matter. Parnas eventually spoke out publicly against Trump, claiming the president knew “exactly what was going on” with the efforts to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his family’s dealings in the country.

Fruman pleaded guilty last month to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national. Another co-conspirator, Parnas’s co-defendant Andrey Kukushkin, was also found guilty on Friday of two counts related to the scheme.

Parnas faces another trial for allegedly defrauding investors using a fake company called — no joke — Fraud Guarantee. Giuliani, of course, still faces his own legal predicament.

Giuliani Ally Lev Parnas Guilty of Campaign Finance Crimes