Parnas asks court for permission to turn over more evidence to Democrats
Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, asked a federal court for permission to turn over more evidence to House Democrats after already providing some evidence, including a 2018 recording of Trump discussing the dismissal of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
In a letter dated Friday, Parnas’s attorney Joseph Bondy asked U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken to waive attorney-client privilege rules to allow Parnas to provide more information to the House Intelligence Committee. Parnas is indicted on breaching campaign finance laws but has yet to be convicted.
Parnas has already turned over information twice under congressional subpoena, though his co-defendant and associate Igor Fruman’s defense has advocated against it and called Parnas’s public approach to the case “unacceptable.”
Oetken granted Parnas permission to turn over some of the evidence prosecutors had obtained to House impeachment investigators earlier this month, which included texts, documents and a video of Trump dismissing Yovanovitch after Parnas suggested she wanted the president impeached.
The materials are pursuant to a subpoena the House Intelligence Committee sent Parnas in October as it began its investigation into Trump.
“We should be allowed to provide these materials to [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] for use in its investigation, along with any other materials that have been similarly seized, without limitation,” one letter from Bondy read.
Parnas provided a May 10 letter to House investigators in which Giuliani wrote to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky identifying himself as “private counsel” to Trump and asking for a meeting to discuss an unnamed matter. Many have taken the outreach to be part of Giuliani’s effort to pursue an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
Despite his donations to the Trump campaign, several pictures of the pair together and the recording of their conversation regarding Yovanovitch, Trump denied knowing Parnas and has described him as a “groupie” and a “con man.”
Meanwhile, the House has already voted to impeach Trump, but House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is also the lead impeachment manager, could use the information during the trial, though it’s unclear if it will make it into the trial record.
The letters from Parnas’s attorney were filed Tuesday, the last day that Trump’s defense team has to present its opening arguments during the Senate trial. Though Republican senators have spoken against bringing in witnesses, a manuscript from former national security adviser John Bolton’s memoir that includes potential new evidence has made it “increasingly likely” that the Senate will vote in favor of witnesses, according to Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah).
If enough GOP senators vote to bring in witnesses, Parnas, who along with Bolton has offered to testify, is on the list of people Democrats would like to bring in.
Though it’s unclear what materials Parnas could potential provide, his attorney described them as “essential to the committee’s ability to corroborate the strength of Mr. Parnas’s potential testimony.”