November 16, 2019, 4:47

Giuliani’s associate ready to comply with congressional impeachment inquiry

Giuliani’s associate ready to comply with congressional impeachment inquiry

Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani’s associates who reportedly played a key role in assisting the president’s lawyer in his efforts to investigate Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine, is now ready to comply with the congressional impeachment inquiry, his lawyer told ABC News.

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“A subpoena is a legal instrument that requires people to do things,” Parnas’ attorney Joseph A. Bondy told ABC News. “Defying it is not an appropriate course of action. Like any normal person, he will comply with the subpoena to the extent that he doesn’t damage his rights.”

(MORE: Pence, Giuliani defy demands by Congress for documents)

Parnas’ decision to begin complying with congressional requests was first reported by Reuters.

Mark Lennihan/AP

Lev Parnas makes a statement to the media following his arraignment in New York City, Oct. 23, 2019.

The Ukraine-born, American businessman, who is based in Florida, was subpoenaed by House committees last month along with his associate Igor Fruman. The two men had announced through their previous lawyer John Dowd that they would not be complying with the subpoena. Dowd accused House Democrats of attempting to “harass, intimidate and embarrass” his clients by requesting documents and communications that are “overly broad and unduly burdensome.”

(MORE: How Giuliani’s associates, promoting a foreign agenda, used Trump-friendly media to get a US ambassador removed)

Asked why Parnas changed his mind, Bondy said, “The uber message is that he’s not trying to prevent the flow of information. He is not going to obstruct the flow information.”

Bondy stressed that Parnas is not “cooperating” with investigators, but is just “answering questions within bounds,” with the intention of being compliant with the requests. He added that his client may invoke his rights under the Fifth Amendment not to incriminate himself.

One privilege Parnas won’t be invoking, Bondy said, is the executive privilege. Parnas’ previous legal team, including Dowd, had said that Parnas may invoke the executive privilege over matters related to Giuliani and the president. Bondy dismissed the idea, saying he doesn’t see executive privilege applicable in this matter. Bondy said Dowd is no longer part of the legal team representing Parnas.

(MORE: Rudy Giuliani’s relationship with arrested men is subject of criminal investigation: Sources)

Charles Krupa/AP, FILE

Rudy Giuliani, attorney for President Donald Trump, addresses a gathering during a campaign event in Portsmouth, N.H., Aug. 1, 2019.

Separate from the House impeachment inquiry, Parnas and Fruman were arrested last month at the Dulles International Airport just outside of Washington, with one-way international tickets, and charged in a criminal campaign finance case in the Southern District of New York. Accused of allegedly circumventing campaign finance laws against straw donations and foreign contributions, Parnas and Fruman pleaded not guilty.

(MORE: 2 Giuliani associates plead not guilty to campaign finance crimes in New York court)

According to the indictment, Parnas sought then-Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s ouster earlier this year along with his efforts to get Ukrainian officials to investigate the president’s political rival, matters that have repeatedly emerged in the House impeachment inquiry.

As ABC News has previously reported, Giuliani’s relationship with Parnas and Fruman is the subject of a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Sourse: abcnews.go.com

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