Lev Parnas was found guilty on Friday on six counts of campaign finance charges related to a scheme in which he and co-conspirators funneled money from a wealthy Russian into U.S. elections. They hoped the contributions would curry favor as they tried to develop their cannabis business.
“A unanimous federal jury has found that Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin conspired to manipulate the United States political system for their own financial gain,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement. “In order to gain influence with American politicians and candidates, they illegally funneled foreign money into the 2018 midterm elections with an eye toward making huge profits in the cannabis business. Campaign finance laws are designed to protect the integrity of our free and fair elections — unencumbered by foreign interests or influence — and safeguarding those laws is essential to preserving the freedoms that Americans hold sacred.”
Parnas is best known for aiding Rudy Giuliani in his effort to push the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, who at the time was a leading candidate to take on then-President Trump in the 2020 election. He faces up to five years in prison for five of the six counts on which he was convicted. The sixth count, falsifying records to the Federal Election Commission, carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
This story is developing.