Giuliani Ally Fruman Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Charge
(Bloomberg) -- Igor Fruman, an associate of Rudy Giuliani who aided his efforts to dig up political dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine, pleaded guilty to a single charge of soliciting contributions to U.S. political campaigns from a foreign national.
The charge was unrelated to Fruman’s involvement in Giuliani’s Ukrainian affairs. Rather, it pertained to funding he solicited from a foreign businessman to make donations to U.S. politicians in furtherance of a cannabis business he was trying to establish.
Fruman, 56, appeared in Manhattan federal court and answered questions from U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in short, clipped responses. He admitted that he “generally understood” that it was illegal for foreign nationals to donate to U.S. campaigns, and that the donations were “part of the business plan” to build support for his venture in obtaining required licenses.
“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the court and the U.S. government for this conduct,” he told the judge in Ukrainian-inflected English. Fruman was born in Ukraine and attended college there before moving to America and becoming a U.S. citizen.
Fruman didn’t enter a cooperation agreement with prosecutors. The statutory maximum for the charge he admitted to carries a five-year prison sentence, though prosecutors agreed to a guideline range of three to almost four years in his plea deal. Trial for two other defendants in the case, Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin, is scheduled to begin Oct. 12. A fourth defendant, David Correia, pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to a year in prison.
A lawyer for Fruman, Todd Blanche, said in a statement that Fruman’s plea was “the fairest and best way to put the past two years of his life behind him.”
Fruman publicly signaled his intent to plead guilty in late August, though Oetken said during the hearing that the plea agreement with prosecutors was dated July 6 and signed on August 12.
The case is U.S. v. Parnas, 19-cr-725, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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