Trial for Giuliani associate Lev Parnas pushed to next year

Trial for Giuliani associate Lev Parnas pushed to next year
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The criminal trial for Lev Parnas, an associate of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests some states may 'pay nothing' as part of unemployment plan Trump denies White House asked about adding him to Mount Rushmore Trump, US face pivotal UN vote on Iran MORE's personal attorney Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiCoronavirus concerns emerge around debates Giuliani says Black Lives Matter is 'domestic terrorist' group Commission on Presidential Debates rejects Trump campaign call for earlier debate MORE, has been postponed to next year amid coronavirus concerns.

Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York on Wednesday approved a joint request from federal prosecutors and Parnas’s attorneys to delay the trial from Oct. 5 to Feb. 1. Pretrial conferences between the two parties will not begin until Nov. 30.

“In light of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties have been in discussions regarding the feasibility of adhering to the schedule currently in place, which calls for pretrial motions to be filed by May 1, 2020, a pretrial conference to be held on July 16, 2020, and trial to commence on October 5, 2020,” the parties wrote in a court filing.

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Parnas, who was a key player in Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on political rivals, faces several campaign finance violation charges. He is slated to stand trial with three other defendants, including Igor Fruman, another Giuliani affiliate.

Prosecutors accuse Parnas of violating campaign finance laws to try to advance his own political and business interests. Among the more prominent examples brought by the government is a donation to a member of Congress who later pushed for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, an episode that was featured in the House impeachment investigation into Trump.

The trial postponement pushes court proceedings to after Election Day instead of less than a month before voters cast their ballots. While Democrats have repeatedly accused Trump of abusing his power with his involvement in Parnas’s Ukraine efforts, the president has vociferously denied any wrongdoing.