Giuliani Allies’ Co-Defendant to Enter New Plea on Thursday
(Bloomberg) -- A businessman who was accused of taking part in a fraud and money-laundering plot along with two Rudy Giuliani associates and who denied the charges is scheduled to change his plea in the case, according to a court filing.
David Correia, who was charged last year with Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and pleaded not guilty, will enter a new plea by videoconference on Thursday morning, according to the filing in federal court in Manhattan. Together with a fourth man, the three allegedly participated in a wide-ranging scheme to solicit campaign donations from foreign investors while advancing their business interests in the U.S.
Filings like Wednesday’s usually signal that a defendant has decided to enter a guilty plea. Correia had pleaded not guilty to charges including making false statements to election officials, falsification of records, conspiracy to launder foreign donations into U.S. campaigns and conspiracy to defraud investors in a business venture.
It wasn’t clear which charges he would change his plea on, or whether his new plea would include an agreement to cooperate with authorities against his co-defendants. If he pleads guilty to any of the charges, it would be the first admission of guilt in the case.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment on the filing. A lawyer for Correia didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Dirt on Biden
One of the charges against Correia relates to Parnas and Fruman’s $325,000 donation to the America First political action committee, an independent campaign fund that promotes issues championed by President Donald Trump.
The donated funds were represented as coming from an energy company that had no real business operations, but it put Parnas and Fruman on the political radar. They would later aid efforts by Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, to dig up dirt in Ukraine on Trump’s Democratic presidential challenger, Joe Biden.
While most of the focus has been on the role Parnas and Fruman played in helping Giuliani and Trump in Ukraine, which figured in the president’s impeachment, other charges involving Correia include laundering donations from a Russian backer to launch a retail marijuana business in Nevada.
Parnas and Fruman were arrested at Dulles airport outside Washington as they sought to leave the country with one-way plane tickets last year. Correia, who was traveling in the Middle East when his indictment was announced, surrendered to authorities at John F. Kennedy airport in New York upon his return to the U.S.
The president said at the time that he didn’t know Parnas or Fruman, adding, “Maybe they were clients of Rudy.”
The case is U.S. v. Parnas, 19-cr-725, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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