Giuliani Ally Parnas Says He’s Broke as Criminal Trial Nears
(Bloomberg) -- Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate who helped him try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine, said in a court filing he can no longer afford to pay for his legal defense in his upcoming trial on campaign finance charges.
Parnas did not request the appointment of new counsel, and his lawyer, Joseph Bondy, confirmed on Monday that he would continue in that role despite his client’s financial troubles.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in Manhattan on Monday ordered the U.S. Marshals Service to arrange or pay for Parnas’s transportation and lodging, citing a letter Bondy had written concerning his client’s indigence. Parnas, who lives in Florida, is scheduled to go on trial in New York Oct. 12 on charges that he laundered the source of campaign donations and funneled foreign funds into campaign accounts for U.S. politicians.
The judge said he would cover Parnas’s costs by reimbursing Bondy at the government per diem rate under a federal law that provides funding for representation for indigent defendants. Bondy said he had not planned to take such funding and had hoped that another means of covering Parnas’s expenses could be identified.
“We are grateful for the court’s ruling, and that Mr. Parnas will be able to be housed while he is on trial away from home,” said Bondy.
Parnas’s claims of poverty clash with the image of wealth he once projected when he mingled with Giuliani and other figures in former President Donald Trump’s orbit. He received a $1 million payment from a lawyer for Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash in 2019, and his wife used $200,000 as a down payment on a $4.5 million house in Boca Raton, Florida. The home purchase ultimately fell through.
Two other defendants in the case, Igor Fruman and David Correia, have already pleaded guilty and are no longer going to trial, leaving Parnas and Andrei Kukushkin as the remaining defendants in the case. Giuliani is separately under investigation for allegedly covertly lobbying on behalf of Ukraine. The former New York mayor and personal lawyer to Trump has denied wrongdoing.
The case is U.S. v. Parnas, 19-cr-725, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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