An associate of Rudy Giuliani and his co-defendant were found guilty by a jury in Manhattan federal court Friday on all counts related to a scheme to solicit illegal campaign contributions from a foreign national in 2018.
The jury found Lev Parnas guilty of all six counts against him, while his co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, was found guilty of the two counts he faced, conspiracy to make contributions by a foreign national and making a contribution by a foreign national.
Prosecutors sought to detain the men into custody following the verdict, arguing they are a flight risk, but Judge Paul Oetken denied the request. They’ll both remain free pending sentencing.
At trial, prosecutors showed evidence to jurors that Parnas and Kukushkin funneled $100,000 they received from a Russian businessman to political candidates who they thought could further their business interests in a legal marijuana company.
“In order to gain influence with American politicians and candidates, they illegally funneled foreign money into the 2018 midterm elections with an eye toward making huge profits in the cannabis business,” US Attorney Damian Williams said of the verdict was handed down.
“Campaign finance laws are designed to protect the integrity of our free and fair elections – unencumbered by foreign interests or influence – and safeguarding those laws is essential to preserving the freedoms that Americans hold sacred,” he added.
Parnas came into the public eye in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election as an associate of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was working with Ukraine nationals to dig up dirt on Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden.
Giuliani was not charged alongside Parnas, Kukushkin and a third defendant who pleaded guilty, Igor Fruman, but the Giuliani remains under investigation by federal authorities from the Southern District of New York.
Parnas and Kukushkin had pleaded not guilty prior to their trial. It’s not clear if they intend to appeal Friday’s verdict.