WASHINGTON — Lev Parnas has been clamoring to share what he knows about President Trump with the impeachment investigation, and on Monday a federal judge cleared the way for him to do just that.
And if that weren’t enough bad news for Trump, prosecutors also said their criminal case against the Soviet-born businessman is likely to expand to add new charges or additional defendants. That’s a worrying sign for Trump’s attorney, and Parnas’ longtime associate, Rudy Giuliani, who's widely reported to be under criminal investigation by the same prosecutors charging Parnas in the Southern District of New York.
On Monday, the federal judge overseeing Parnas’ criminal case said he plans to let prosecutors share some of the mountain of evidence collected in the investigation of Parnas with Congress, according to a report in Courthouse News.
“I certainly expect to grant that request,” Judge Paul Oetken said.
Such an order, which would allow Parnas to fulfill a Congressional subpoena for documents, poses yet another threat to Trump, who has claimed he doesn’t know Parnas despite appearing next to him in multiple photographs. The trail of documents could reveal links between Parnas, Giuliani, and Trump that would be much harder for Trump to breezily dismiss.
Parnas and three other associates were indicted in October for allegedly funneling illegal foreign donations to GOP political campaigns. Parnas, who has acknowledged helping Giuliani look for damaging information against former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine, has pleaded not guilty.
Investigators have collected a huge pile of documents and data in their investigation of Parnas, some of which could prove enormously helpful to House Democrats who are now pursuing an impeachment inquiry focused on Trump’s attempts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political enemies.
But even with the judge’s support for sharing what they’ve found, the transfer to Washington could be slowed because prosecutors still don’t have passwords for some electronic devices. A transfer of paper records could happen much faster, however.
Prosecutors also signaled Sunday that the case will probably soon expand with a superseding indictment, which could add new charges or details — or possibly new defendants.
“We think a superseding indictment is likely, but no decision has been made, certainly,” U.S. Attorney Douglas Zolkind told the court, Courthouse News reported.
Giuliani, who once led the Southern District of New York, has denied wrongdoing.
House Democrats have not yet indicated whether they plan to call Parnas to speak before the impeachment inquiry, although Parnas’ New York-based defense attorney Joseph Bondy has been tweeting directly at them with the hashtag #LetLevSpeak.
Cover: A man holds a sign in the street as Lev Parnas arrives to court in New York, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Parnas and Igor Fruman, close associates to U.S. President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were arrested last month at an airport outside Washington while trying to board a flight to Europe with one-way tickets. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)