Rudy Giuliani pal Lev Parnas can’t cooperate with the ongoing impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump — because federal prosecutors have yet to return items they seized that are being sought by Congress, according to Parnas’ lawyer.
“He’s attempting to be compliant,” attorney Joseph Bondy said as his client appeared in court Monday on charges of campaign-finance violations. But, the lawyer said, Parnas was unable to answer at least part of the subpoena because he was missing “the lion’s share” of the information “through no fault of his own.”
While the subpoena issued by the House Intelligence Committee has yet to be made public, Bondy said the document seeks “everything” seized by prosecutors.
“Item 11 indicates that we’re to turn over everything that has been seized by the federal government,” he told the court, noting that extends to both hard copy documents and electronic devices.
The Ukrainian-born Parnas has been living under house arrest in Florida since his October arrest alongside three others for attempting to skirt US campaign finance laws. Prosecutors claim he, Igor Fruman, David Correia, and Andrey Kukushkin variously schemed to hide donations to Republican candidates through straw-donors and allegedly funneled money put up by an unnamed Russian national into the US electoral process.
Parnas and Fruman are also accused of acting as fixers for Giuliani as he attempted to dig up dirt on Trump rival and 2020 Democratic contender Joe Biden — and of helping to expedite the ouster of former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Giuliani himself is the subject of a federal investigation, according to multiple reports.
Assistant US Attorney Douglas Zolkind said Monday that prosecutors would be able to turn over evidence to Parnas more quickly if he was willing to provide passwords to the devices they’d seized, but noted that Parnas had so far declined.
Zolkind said feds had seized a total of 14 devices from Parnas and 10 from Fruman — including a satellite phone found at his residence — following their arrest on a jet bridge at Washington Dulles airport.
Though Parnas was the only defendant to appear in court Monday, defense attorneys for his cohorts complained that the government was taking too long to produce evidence.
At one point Kukushkin’s attorney Gerald Lefcourt stood to address the issue, waiving around what he said was 26 pages of fully-redacted search warrants.
“We have no sense of what this case is,” Lefcourt groused.
Zolkind responded by saying “the redactions don’t relate to the charged case,” and noted the investigation was ongoing.
The prosecutor also said his office would likely file a superseding indictment in the case.
The parties were ordered to return to court Feb. 3, 2020.
Parnas and his attorneys declined to comment following the proceeding.
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