Lev Parnas, a disgraced Former Republican donor and a business associate of former President Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliana, was found guilty Friday of making illegal campaign donations and making donations in the names of others.Parnas is a Ukrainian-born American businessman.
The Manhattan jury found Parnas guilty after they deliberated for about five hours on Friday. He was found him on six counts, five of illegal campaign contributions and one of filing a false report with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). On a seventh charge involving an alleged business fraud, the judge directed that Parnas be tried separately.
The trial was a two-week event in federal court and Parnas could face up to five years in prison for each campaign finance charge and 20 years in prison for the false FEC report.
Parnas was accused of arranging at least $156,000 in political donations with money from Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev as part of an effort to win legal cannabis licenses in several U.S. states.
Prosecutors also alleged that Parnas made a $325,000 contribution to a pro-Trump super PAC through a shell company using another man’s money.
A co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, 48, was also convicted Friday on the three campaign-finance-related felony charges he faced.
Prosecutors asked U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken to immediately jail Parnas and Kukushkin as they await sentencing. However, the judge declined. He said that as the case became drawn out for more than two years, due to the coronavirus pandemic, they’d abided by the court’s orders and showed up for the trial.
The acting U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Damian Williams, welcomed Friday’s verdicts saying in his statement, “A unanimous federal jury has found that Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin conspired to manipulate the United States political system for their own financial gain.”
Defense attorneys for Parnas and Kukushkin said they planned to pursue motions with the court arguing that the prosecution’s evidence in the case was lacking and the verdicts should be thrown out.