Jun 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Lev Parnas sentenced to 20 months in prison for campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas exiting a federal court in New York City in February 2020.

Lev Parnas exiting a federal court in New York City in February 2020. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Lev Parnas, a Florida businessman and associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was sentenced by a federal judge to a year and eight months in prison for fraud and campaign finance crimes, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Parnas and Igor Fruman, another associate of Giuliani, were key figures throughout Trump's first impeachment trial, as they worked with the former New York City mayor to pressure Ukraine into investigating President Biden for baseless claims of corruption in the lead-up to the 2020 election.

Parnas and Furman, both foreign-born Trump donors, were arrested on campaign finance charges in October 2019.

  • Fruman pleaded guilty to soliciting campaign contributions from a foreign national in September 2021 and was sentenced to one year in prison and fined $10,000.
  • Parnas was convicted of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns. Prosecutors said he funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry in October 2021.
  • Parnas also pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to commit wire fraud as part of a scheme to give investors false information about a Florida-based business created to prevent people from being defrauded, AP reported.

The big picture: Lawyers for Parnas argued that he deserved leniency because he assisted Congress in its investigation into Trump and Giuliani's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden before the election, per AP.

  • Federal prosecutors argued that Parnas' assistance only came at the behest of a congressional subpoena, and he therefore did not deserve leniency. They asked that Parnas be sentenced to more than six years in prison.

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