Prosecutors call for conviction of Giuliani’s partner – .

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Prosecutors call for conviction of Giuliani’s partner – .


“There was an agreement to bring Andrey Muraviev’s wealth and corruption into American politics,” Deputy US Attorney Hagan Scotten told the jury in New York. “It is clear that these defendants have agreed to donate Muraviev’s money to the American political campaigns. … There is nothing wrong with being Russian and there is nothing wrong with selling marijuana with a license. You simply cannot donate to American politicians for this license. “

Jurors heard during the trial some beneficiaries of the largesse of Parnas and his associates. One of those recipients, Adam Laxalt, is a former Nevada attorney general who is running to overthrow Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) Next year.

No candidate or campaign was charged with wrongdoing in the case, and prosecutors said political groups were unaware at the time that the donations were made on behalf of others or that the money came from Muraviev.

However, the image of high added value political fundraising was not flattering.

“They want help from politicians. … The politicians who hung out with Fruman and Parnas were just taking the opportunity to meet them, ”Scotten said.

But despite the eye-catching, smiling photos, the men were not genuinely interested in politics. They were “acting like outright supporters when in fact, they were making fun of politics,” Scotten said.

Parnas’ attorney, Joe Bondy, said his client and others made the donations under relentless pressure from Laxalt and other candidates and their assistants.

“The fundraisers will come and strangle you and suck all they can from you… all the strangling figs,” Bondy said. “Asking you, clubbing you, harassing you, chasing you for money, money, money, money. … You don’t go to these events unless you pay the piper.

Bondy claimed that all donations involved in the case, including $ 325,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC, were legal.

“There was no effort to hide anything. There has been no effort to donate on behalf of someone else, ”the defense attorney said. “This is not a hidden payment through a shell company designed to mislead. Nonsense! “

While the trial and the case as a whole have drawn attention because of the defendants’ connection to Giuliani, there has been little to no mention of the former New York mayor and outspoken Trump advocate. in court on Thursday.

Giuliani has not been charged in this case and has denied any wrongdoing, but has been cited numerous times in evidence and testimony presented over the past two weeks. It’s also hard to miss in a series of photos that prosecutors have presented as exhibits, showing Parnas and Giuliani storming the country in a private jet to support Republican candidates ahead of the 2018 election.

One of the photos shows Parnas and Giuliani on the golf course, both men wearing baseball caps emblazoned with the logo of “Fraud Guarantee,” an alleged anti-fraud company which prosecutors said was itself fraudulent. Giuliani admitted to receiving $ 500,000 to advise the company, but said he was not aware of any fraud in this regard.

U.S. District Court Judge Paul Oetken agreed earlier this year to dissociate the fraud charge against Parnas from the trial that has taken place on the campaign finance charges over the past two weeks.

At the trial, no mention was made of the work Parnas, Fruman and Giuliani did together to try to oust the US ambassador to Ukraine and negotiate a deal to get Ukrainian authorities to announce an investigation into Joe. Biden and his son Hunter. The original indictment in the case indicated that impeaching the ambassador was a goal of the larger plan, but prosecutors dropped that claim when they revised the charges.

After his arrest in 2018, Parnas was the subject of a thorough debriefing by the US attorney’s office, but the two sides were never able to strike a deal.

Parnas chose not to take a stand in his own defense after Oetken ruled that Parnas could be questioned about the “fraud guarantee,” although jurors were not told he was facing a charge of separate federal fraud involving this company.

Defense lawyers suggested the prosecution was trying to play on patriotism and paranoia about Russian influence. Prosecutors noted to the jury that Muraviev’s profile photo on social media appeared to show him looking at the Statue of Liberty. This sparked a Bondy soliloquy on freedom.

“There is a photo of a person running the Statute of Liberty. Well, so what? You have the right to think, speak, feel, do whatever you want as long as you do no harm [others.] Bondy said. “Is it a symbol of hypocrisy for many of us, like a statue of Jefferson or Washington or Christopher Columbus? You can love America and still see the false promises. When people speak out in America, it’s a good thing. “

A total of four men have been charged in this case: Parnas, Fruman, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin. Fruman and Correia’s guilty pleas left Parnas and Kukushkin on trial this month. Parnas came under pressure from both sides during the trial. As prosecutors accused him of making nearly half a million dollars in illegal campaign donations, Kukushkin’s lawyers said Parnas and Fruman essentially scammed him by taking money for the campaign. cannabis business and spending it on lavish hotels, golf outings, and private jets.

“This is the real plot in this case,” said Kukushkin’s lawyer Gerald Lefcourt. “They immediately took it and used it for personal business to pay an overdue bill. … There was no agreement to commit a crime. “

Bondy said Parnas isn’t cheating on anyone, although his plans for the energy and cannabis companies are pretty grandiose. “He was way over his head but he had good ideas,” the defense attorney said.

The two defendants also argued that they did not know enough about the campaign finance law to be convicted in this case, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that they knew their actions were illegal. Prosecutors argue that the bans at stake – against donations of straw and those from foreign nationals – are well publicized and well-known.

“These are relatively simple rules,” Assistant US Attorney Nicolas Roos told the jury, which is expected to begin deliberations on Friday morning.

The trial, held in a Lower Manhattan courtroom outfitted with Plexiglas boxes for coronavirus protection, produced a series of unusually tense exchanges between the defense and the prosecution.

After such a back and forth last week outside of the jury’s presence, Bondy claimed Scotten asked FBI agents for “a handgun” and “a bullet.” Scotten said it was a joking response to what he saw as Bondy challenging him to a duel, but defense attorney said he had done no such thing and took the comments as a threatens.

Oetken said he didn’t think the prosecutor was serious, but urged both sides to watch their language.

This episode followed Bondy appearing to accuse prosecutors of injecting race into the case by releasing a viral video included in a social media chat between the defendants.

At one point on Wednesday, in a session with the judge discussing jury instructions, Bondy described a prosecutor or his remarks as “just ignorant”.

There were few signs of disrespect Thursday, but Bondy, at least three times before the jury, called Scotten “Mr. Hagan.

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