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Giuliani associates plead not guilty in campaign finance scheme

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Bloomberg via Getty Images FILE

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, wearing dark suits and ties and flanked by their attorneys, were arraigned on the federal indictment in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Parnas and Fruman were arrested two weeks ago at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., with one-way tickets out of the country.

The indictment filed this month in the Southern District of NY does not mention Trump, or refer to the ongoing impeachment investigation of the president over his actions in regard to Ukraine.

The foreign-born Florida men were charged with making $325,000 in illegal straw donations to a Trump super PAC, according to the indictment, as well as giving $15,000 to a second committee among a flurry of political donations meant to help them gain access to politicians.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arraigned in federal court in Manhattan in a case that's cast a harsh light on the business dealings of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer. And one of Parnas' attorneys raised the possibility of a direct link between the campaign finance case and Trump, warning that information sought by prosecutors could be deemed confidential by the White House. "I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court, and I'm certain that in time, the truth will be revealed and I will be vindicated".

Investigators for the Southern District of NY who are pursuing the cases against Fruman and Parnas have been seeking reams of financial and personal information on the men and their associates.

Giuliani additionally said the two helped him as he tried to web Ukraine to examine Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who had worked for an energy company in Ukraine.

Pressed Wednesday about how executive privilege might apply to two businessmen working with the president's personal attorney - and not on official USA government business - MacMahon referred a reporter to Dowd's letter. The prosecutor told the judge that the government's investigation is ongoing.

Concerns about privilege arose in court after prosecutors told the judge about the scope of discovery material, which they said includes returns from more than a dozen search warrants, including those for premises as well as email and social media accounts, and subpoena returns for more than 50 bank accounts and telephone numbers. "Thank you", Parnas stated outdoors the courthouse afterward. Oetken set December 2 as their next court date.

Prosecutors allege that Parnas and Fruman also worked with two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin, in a separate scheme to make illegal campaign donations to politicians in several states in an attempt to get support for a new recreational marijuana business.

Prosecutors say Parnas and Fruman committed to raise $20,000 for Rep. Pete Sessions as part of an effort to get Trump to remove U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

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