Giuliani associate Lev Parnas declines to testify at criminal trial

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas declines to testify at criminal trial
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Lev Parnas, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, told a federal judge Wednesday he will not testify during his own trial on charges that he used a Russian financier's money to contribute funds to U.S. political candidates.

Parnas, a businessman who once identified himself as someone who could expose corruption in former President Donald Trump's administration over its dealings in Ukraine, announced his refusal to testify one day after prosecutors concluded an evidence presentation against him. He and his co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Prosecutors allege Parnas and Kukushkin conspired to use more than $100,000 of a $1 million investment from a Russian financier to contribute to politicians who they believed could further their interests, such as a legal marijuana industry and business in an energy company.

Parnas made the decision against testifying after consulting with his spouse and family, according to the Associated Press.

LEV PARNAS SAYS 'TRUMP KNEW' ABOUT HIS UKRAINE DEALINGS

Overseeing the trial is Judge J. Paul Oetken, an Obama appointee, who told jurors to return Thursday for closing arguments in the two-week-old trial. Oetken and the lawyers reportedly plan to have discussions Wednesday coordinating how the laws will be explained before jurors begin deliberations.

Parnas allegedly assisted Giuliani's attempts to convince Ukrainian officials to investigate President Joe Biden's son when he was a candidate.

Giuliani, 77, is not charged in the case but is facing an investigation in New York regarding whether he was required to register as an agent of a foreign government for actions he said he took in his capacity as a private attorney for then-President Donald Trump.

The New York apartment of the former Trump lawyer was raided by the FBI in April, with the agency seizing several electronic hard drives and devices.

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Giuliani has denied allegations he acted as an agent of a foreign national, saying he "never ever represented any foreign national" and that the evidence seized is "exculpatory."

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Tags: News, Rudy Giuliani, Russia, Law, Crime, Ukraine, Donald Trump, Campaigns, 2020 Elections, Campaign Finance

Original Author: Kaelan Deese

Original Location: Giuliani associate Lev Parnas declines to testify at criminal trial

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