Lev Parnas, a business associate of Rudy Giuliani, was found guilty of multiple campaign finance charges on Friday, including funneling foreign money to a political action committee that backed former President Trump.
A New York jury took five hours to return its verdict.
It followed a two-week trial in which prosecutors accused Soviet-born Parnas, 49, of posing as a power broker to get close to some of the country biggest Republican political figures.
Outside the courtroom, he said: ‘I’ve never hid from nobody.
‘I’ve always stood to tell the truth.’
His lawyer said he would be filing an appeal.
The trial generated global headlines because of Parnas’ ties to Giuliani, a vocal supporter of former President Trump’s election fraud claims.
Parnas has said he worked with Trump’s personal lawyer to investigate President Biden’s son Hunter, whose role in a Ukrainian energy company has been under scrutiny.
The prosecution case alleged that Parnas and an associate used a corporate entity to make illegal donations to Republican PACs, including $325,000 to America First Action, which backed Trump.
Lev Parnas, Ukrainian-American businessman and former Giuliani associate is pictured leaving the United States Court with his lawyer Joseph Bondy following a guilty verdict
prosecutors accused him of using other people’s money to pose as a powerful political broker and cozy up to some of the nation’s star Republicans. He is seen here with Giuliani, former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence
Court exhibits included this photograph of Parnas with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
Prosecutors also said he used funds from Andrey Muraviev, a Russian financier, to make donations to politicians.
Parnas said the money was used for legitimate purposes but he was found guilty on all six counts.
His co-defendant, Ukraine-born investor Andrey Kukushkin, was convicted of being part of the effort to use Muraviev’s money for political contributions. He had also denied any wrongdoing.
In his closing argument, Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagan Scotten accused the two defendants of using ‘lies and tricks’ to conceal the source of the donation.
Parnas made a series of straw donations despite being ‘told again and again that he couldn’t donate somebody else’s money,’ Scotten said.
The defendant lied to the financier, Muraviev, about how much he was actually donating, the prosecutor said. He also failed to come through on pledges he was making to candidates, he added.
‘Put simply, Parnas is ripping everybody off,’ he said.
Parnas poses for a selfie with his lawyer Joseph Bundy outside the United States Court in Manhattan on Thursday as he arrived to hear closing arguments
Parnas listens as the first witness Wes Duncan delivers evidence during the trial last week
Giuliani and Trump were barely mentioned during the trial, although a photograph featuring Parnas with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, was used during closing arguments.
DeSantis was among those who received campaign contributions that prosecutors said were traced to $1 million that Parnas and Igor Fruman – who pleaded guilty separately – from Muraviev.
‘The voters would never know whose money was pouring into our elections,’ Scotten said.
Defense attorney Joseph Bondy called the allegations ‘absurd.’
The lawyer said his client was a legitimate businessperson trying to use loans from Muraviev to launch an energy company that would be involved in exporting natural gas to Europe.
The funds were used for business investments, he said, not campaign contributions.
‘There was no effort to hide anything, whatsoever,’ Bondy said.
He told jurors his client ‘doesn’t want your sympathy. He wants a verdict based on the facts and the law.’
On Wednesday, Parnas told U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken that he would not be testifying in his own defense.
He said he had made the decision after discussing it with his wife and family.
This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018
Parnas and another Soviet-born businessman Igor Fruman worked with Rudi Giuliani to persuade Ukraine to investigate the family of Joe Biden
Parnas and another Soviet-born Florida businessman, Igor Fruman, attracted media attention when it emerged they had made big donations through a corporate entity, including a $325,000 contribution in 2018 to America First Action, a super PAC supporting Donald Trump.
The pair then became middlemen in Giuliani’s effort to discredit then-candidate Joe Biden.
They connected Giuliani with Ukrainian officials as the former New York City mayor tried to get that country to open an investigation into the future president’s son, Hunter.
Ukrainian tycoons and officials, meanwhile, sought Giuliani’s help connecting with the Trump administration.
Though Giuliani is not part of the case, he is under investigation in New York for whether he was required to register as an agent of a foreign government for actions he said he took in his capacity as a private attorney for then-President Trump.