Parnas attorney asks William Barr to recuse himself from investigation

Parnas attorney asks William Barr to recuse himself from investigation
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A lawyer for Lev Parnas, an associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll MORE's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Former US ambassador Yovanovitch lands a book deal: report Kerry responds to Trump accusation he violated Logan Act: 'Another presidential lie' MORE, is asking Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBill Barr is trying his best to be Trump's Roy Cohn Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter split on Bloomberg video | Sanders briefed on Russian efforts to help campaign | Barr to meet with Republicans ahead of surveillance fight Sanders says he was briefed on Russian effort to help campaign MORE to recuse himself from an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations against Parnas.

Joseph Bondy made the request in a letter sent to Barr and filed in New York federal court on Monday, CNN reported. In it, Bondy argues that Barr has a "conflict of interest" in the matter and that he should appoint a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department to handle the case.

"Given the totality of the circumstances, we believe it is appropriate for you to recuse yourself from the ongoing investigation and pending prosecution of Mr. Parnas," wrote Bondy. 

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Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, were arrested and indicted last October for allegedly funneling donations to U.S. political campaigns, including a group supporting Trump's reelection bid. The two have pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

The Justice Department declined to comment to a request for comment from The Hill. 

Bondy defends his push for Barr's recusal by noting that a White House partial transcript of President Trump's July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky included multiple references to the attorney general. He also invokes the government whistleblower complaint about Trump's dealings with Ukraine and the Senate Judiciary Committee's call for Barr to recuse himself from probes into matters pertaining to Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 

Bondy also claims that "this conflict of interest also appears to have caused actual harm to Parnas." He argues that a delay in the production of discovery material in Parnas's case left him unable to comply with a House subpoena in time for lawmakers to assess him as a possible witness. 

He doesn't specify how an alleged conflict of interest involving Barr produced a delay in discovery. 

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Federal prosecutors told a court months ago that issues with accessing Parnas's phone led to a delay in the production of discovery evidence, NBC News noted. They also said that Parnas received a congressional subpoena ahead of his Oct. 9 arrest.

The letter's arrival came just days after Parnas spoke out publicly about Trump's alleged dealings with Ukraine. Parnas said in an interview with MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowTlaib says she held Omar's hand during 'triggering' moments at Trump's State of the Union speech Schiff: Bolton 'refused' to submit affidavit on Trump's involvement in Ukraine controversy Tlaib says mention of Kavanaugh was 'trigger' to walk out of Trump speech MORE that Trump knew everything about a pressure campaign to get Ukraine to open beneficial investigation's into his political rivals. 

He also claimed that Trump threatened more than just military aid as officials worked to pressure Zelensky. The White House dismissed Parnas's allegations, describing him as an indicted figure not to be trusted. 

"This is a man who owns a company called Fraud Inc., so I think that’s something that people should be thinking about. We’re not too concerned about it," White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamSupreme Court allows 'public charge' rule to take effect nationwide Pelosi blasts Trump's 'dangerous' pick for intelligence chief Lawyers to seek asylum for Assange in France: report MORE said.