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Giuliani associate Lev Parnas asks court for permission to turn over records to House

Posted at 7:20 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 09:21:12-05

WASHINGTON D.C. - Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, is seeking permission from a federal court to hand over to the House Intelligence Committee the contents of his iPhone and other documents relevant to the impeachment inquiry against President Trump, according to his lawyer.

Joseph Bondy, the attorney, tweeted a letter Monday saying federal investigators are set to produce documents taken from Parnas' home and the contents of his iPhone, which authorities seized when Parnas was arrested at Dulles International Airport in October.

The records, Bondy said in the letter to U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken, "fall within the scope" of an earlier subpoena issued by the Intelligence Committee during the impeachment inquiry.

Bondy told the court the Justice Department "does not object" to Parnas giving the material to House investigators, subject to court approval.

"Review of these materials is essential to the committee's ability to corroborate the strength of Mr. Parnas's potential testimony," he wrote in the letter to Oetken, adding that they do not yet know whether the entirety of the materials will be produced or just a subset.

Parnas and Igor Fruman both aided Giuliani, Mr. Trump's personal attorney, in his efforts to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The two foreign-born men were indicted and arrested before boarding an international flight with one-way tickets and accused of violating federal campaign finance laws. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Federal prosecutors believe Parnas and Fruman illegally funneled foreign money to political campaigns and committees, including one supporting Mr. Trump.

Parnas, who was born in Ukraine, and Fruman, originally from Belarus, have pleaded not guilty. Both are U.S. citizens. Earlier this month, federal prosecutors sought to revoke Parnas' bail, alleging he provided "materially misleading and false statements."

The Intelligence Committee was one of three that led the initial impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump, which centered on his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, his Democratic political rival, and an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

The president's dealings with Zelensky occurred as the U.S. was withholding military assistance to Ukraine. Mr. Trump and his defenders argue the president froze the aid over concerns about corruption in the country and a need for European countries to step up with their own assistance. But House Democrats believe the president conditioned the money from the U.S. on a public announcement from Zelensky that his country would be opening investigations.

The House passed two articles of impeachment against Mr. Trump earlier this month over his dealings with Ukraine.