Two business associates of Rudy Giuliani have pleaded not guilty in their campaign finance case.
Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman were arraigned Wednesday on charges they conspired to make illegal contributions to political committees supporting President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Prosecutors say the pair wanted to use the donations to lobby U.S. politicians to oust the country’s ambassador to Ukraine. At the time, Marie Yovanovitch served in that role, before Trump recalled her in May, which is being scrutinized by the Trump impeachment inquiry.
Coinciding with these events, Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was trying to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the son of Trump’s potential Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. Giuliani has said he knew nothing about the donations.
Trump’s support of a Biden investigation, in exchange for the U.S. releasing millions of dollars in military aid to the country, is also part of the impeachment investigation by the House Intelligence, Judiciary, and Oversight committees.
Prosecutors say Parnas and Fruman also worked with two other men 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.
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