Lev Parnas found guilty of breaking campaign finance laws

Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiRudy Giuliani becomes grandfather after son welcomes child Press: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Former NYC police commissioner to testify before Jan. 6 committee, demands apology MORE, and a co-conspirator were found guilty Friday of violating campaign finance law by funneling foreign money into U.S. politics to advance their business interests.

Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin were convicted of charges related to a scheme that involved using money from a Russian financier as political contributions to 2018 midterm candidates they believed would help them reap profits in the cannabis business.

Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, praised the prosecutors from his office who secured the convictions. 

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“Campaign finance laws are designed to protect the integrity of our free and fair elections –  unencumbered by foreign interests or influence – and safeguarding those laws is essential to preserving the freedoms that Americans hold sacred,” he said. “I commend the career prosecutors of this Office’s Public Corruption Unit whose outstanding work has helped bring to justice those who sought to illicitly influence our government.”

Parnas, a Ukrainian-born businessman, was found guilty of six charges. The charges included lying to the Federal Elections Committee to conceal that the source of the campaign contributions originated from Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev. 

Although the criminal charges did not relate directly to Giuliani or former President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE, Parnas was peripherally involved in events related to Trump’s first impeachment over his dealings with Ukraine. 

During his prosecution, the government identified a fundraising effort by Parnas and another suspect on behalf of a member of Congress, who later pushed for the ouster of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The episode was featured in the House impeachment investigation into Trump.

Updated 4:18 p.m.