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For Parnas Trial Muraviev Was ID-ed as Paying $1M Now Kukushkin Wants To Impeach Parnas

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Order Podcast

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 28 – Whether any US government agency engaged in wiretapping not authorized by a court in connection with the prosecution of David Correia, Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and Andrey Kukushkin came up near the end of a conference in the case on December 2, live-tweeted by Inner City Press here. More on Patreon, here.

  For the Parnas and Kukushkin trial to begin on October 12, the US Attorney's Office on September 21 named the man they say paid $1 million that went to Nevada political candidates: Andrey Maraviev. In a footnote: "The Government has previously redacted Muraviev's name in public filings and the Indictment, but no longer does so here given that a trial... is now immanent."

  On September 28, Kukushkin opposed the US' motions in limine and argued, among other things, that "The government intends to introduce out of court statements of Mr. Parnas against Mr. Kukushkin. Accordingly, Mr. Kukushkin has the right to impeach Mr. Parnas' credibility... Mr. Kukushkin sits before this Court because he and Mr. Muraviev fell for Mr. Parnas' con.... He is a victim." Watch this site.

On September 21 the US Attorney's Office put in its proposed question for prospective jurors, including at to Trump that they be questioned on their views "outside of the hearing of other prospective jurors." And outside the hearing of the Press? Watch this site.

On September 10, Igor Fruman pleaded guilty. Inner City Press live tweeted it here (with vlog; podcast here)

Judge Oetken: I understand you wish to change your plea to guilty. Yes. Judge Oetken: How old are you? Fruman: 56.

Judge Oetken: How far did you go in school? Fruman: University in Ukraine.

Judge Oetken: The charge is solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national. AUSA: ... make one or more contributions aggregating $25,000 or more in one calendar year, willfully and knowingly. Judge Oetken: Maximum penalty is five years, fine of $250,000.

Judge Oetken: Tell me what you did.

Fruman: A few years ago, we tried to legalize cannabis. We approached an investor in the cannabis space -- Judge Oetken: The cannabis space? Fruman: Yes. One part of the business plan included donations to government officials.

Fruman: I sent a list of Democrats and Republicans to the investor. I had very little knowledge. But I was aware foreign investors were not allowed to make contributions in the US. I apologize. Thank you. Judge Oetken: That was true? Fruman: Yes.

Assistant US Attorney: We have emails, showing how money would be spent for various candidates. $1 million in $500,000 installments was in fact wired. And he was in the SDNY on various dates.

Judge Oetken: I accept your guilty plea, Mr. Fruman, to Count Five.

 AUSA: The pre-sentencing report could benefit from information from the upcoming trial.

Fruman's lawyer Todd Blanche: I don't object. But I'd like to go forward with sentencing on December 10, unless the trial takes place. Judge Oetken: I think it will happen

 Fruman's lawyer Todd Blanche: OK, January is fine. Judge Oetken: Jan 21 at 2 pm. Adjourned.

On July 22, Judge J. Paul Oetken held a proceeding and stuck to the October 4 trial date, while dismissing the defendants' selective prosecution claim as implausible, including after the seizure of Rudy Giuliani's devices. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here and below.

Now on September 7, more on the trial timing, specifically motions in limine: "ORDER as to Lev Parnas, Andrey Kukushkin: The jury trial in this case is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. At the request of defense counsel, and without objection from the Government, the pretrial schedule is amended as follows: Motions in limine, requests to charge, and proposed voir dire shall be filed by September 21, 2021. Responses to motions in limine shall be filed by September 28, 2021. Defendants witness list, exhibit list, and 26.2 statements shall be produced by September 28, 2021. The final pretrial conference will be held on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 2:30 p.m."

On August 31, a date for arraignment on the most recent indictment: "The arraignment on the superseding indictment (S3) is scheduled for September 27, 2021 at 2:00 pm, which is also the previously scheduled final pretrial conference. The Court hereby excludes time through October 12, 2021, the date of trial, under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 USC 3161(h)(7)(A), finding that the ends of justice outweigh the interests of the public and the defendants in a speedy trial."

On August 23, it was announced in the docket that Fruman was to plead guilty on August 25: "NOTICE as to Igor Fruman: AN IN-PERSON CHANGE OF PLEA HEARING IS SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 25, 2021 AT 4:30PM IN COURTROOM 110 OF 40 FOLEY SQUARE."

Then on August 24, it was pushed to September 10: "NOTICE AS TO IGOR FRUMAN: AT THE REQUEST OF DEFENSE COUNSEL, THE CHANGE OF PLEA HEARING IS ADJOURNED TO SEPTEMBER 10, 2021 AT 11:00 AM." Watch this site.

On August 11, the defendants renewed their bid to delay the trial to February 7, 2022, now citing COVID-19's Delta variant and alluding to new Rule 16 discovery.

On August 12, the US Attorney's Office opposed the request, saying it is only a relatively small amount of discovery material that is being given nearly two months from the trial - which they want to remain on October 4.

What will Judge Oetken do? Watch this site.

July 22: now a proceeding in US v. Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman & Andrey Kukushkin before   Judge Oetken. The trial was supposed to start on October 4, but Kukushkin has asked to push it to Oct 25. But Judge Oetken has criminal trial(s) from Oct 27 through at least the end of 2021. Hence, this conference.

All rise!

 Lev Parnas: Your afternoon, your Honor, it's Lev Parnas, I'm here. Igor Fruman: I am here.  Judge Oetken: I am not able to move the trial this year - I have trials Oct 25 to end of the year, with detained defendants who take priority. Also, let's talk disclosures

 Judge Oetken: There's a backlog of trials. I was going to request October 4 - the request would go in Aug 15 and we'd find out by the end of August. It's possible the standards will change and we'll be able to pick more than one jury a day. Mr. Roos?

AUSA Nicholas Roos: We want the trial to go forward on October 4. They've been on notice of the date, after many adjournments. We think it's a one to two week trial with a dozen witnesses or less. The passage of time effects witnesses.

Judge Oetken: Will this be three defendants going to trial? Or any [pre-trial] disposition? AUSA Roos: We make offers. But I have nothing to share at this point. Judge Oekten: Mr. Bondy? Bondy: I'll let Mr. Lefcourt start. Lefcourt: I'll let Ms. Friedman do it.

 Faith Friedman: There are some things that cannot be changed. The US proposed a schedule - we looked at the calendar and it's unworkable. We have two larger aspects: religious holidays and back to school, and end of summer time off after what we've gone through

 Faith Friedman: I'm talking about the most Holy Days. We will disconnect from the rest of the world for six days. We're entering a period, those of us with small children, it's stressful, ten fold more so after a year of not being in person.

 Faith Friedman: So we're looking at Feb 7, 2022, that's what the defense is proposing, with pre trial submissions in January 2022. There's no prejudice to the government. It was all unexpected. Judge Oetken: The Jewish Holidays were not unexpected. Mr. Blanche?

 Todd Blanche for Fruman: My client shares the holidays.

Bondy: Mr Parnas is expecting with his wife a child, I'll announce that today. Anyway, detained defendants should take precedence. Let Mr. Parnas be with his child and let the other cases go forward.

Bondy for Parnas: There are also the recently seized electronic devices of Mr. Giuliani. So I join in the application. AUSA Roos: There's never a perfect time for a trial. It's always over a holiday, or abutting a holiday. We are trying to accommodate the defense

AUSA Roos: We're in July, we can plan. The US agrees to filings due before Labor Day. With Fraud Guarantee severed, this case is straight forward: a dozen witnesses. You move the cases quickly.

 Bondy: I do not believe that a week for this trial is realistic, with the voir dire given the publicity surrounding the case. Until we know who they intend to call, we don't know who we want to call.

Lefcourt: By February, maybe I'm being hopeful, you'll have more than one court room to pick a jury. Judge Oetken: I am going to keep it October 4 and I am hopeful to get that date.

 AUSA Roos: I'll produce our 3500 material earlier than we usually would. The witness list, we're opposed to producing it earlier. If we don't know if case will go on Oct 4, even as a back up, we just can't. I told defense, if motions before Labor Day, we'd agree Judge Oetken: I'll know by last week of August about the trial date. We can wait until Sept 7 --

 Faith Friedman: That's when the holidays begin. We suggest September 17, US response by Sept 24. AUSA Roos: That's close to the trial date. So it's the Court's call

 AUSA Roos: As Mr. Bondy telegraphed, there may be some sort of defense case, we'll like disclosure as to that. Judge Oetken: Ms. Friedman, how about Sept 3 for motions in limine? Faith Friedman: People are not going to be around. We have to digest the materials.

Bondy: Lev sought counsel from Mr. Giuliani... Mr. Giuliani has a relationship with Mr. Barr... and other members of Guiliani's coterie. So we want material as we'd get under Giglio and Brady. Mr. Giuliani was supposed to be on the flight with Lev

Judge Oetken: The selective prosecution argument lacks plausibility. If there is such a document, I would be shocked. But if they find one, I'll review it in camera. Bondy: Let's say you make a finding that it breathes life into the argument --

 Judge Oetken: Final Pre-Trial Conference Sept 27 at 2 pm. It might be fairly long. I'll be working hard over the prior weekend on the motions. I'll research the jury instruction, and how jury selection is going to take place in our new world, social distanced

Judge Oetken: I want to repeat that I do plan to let you know by late August, hopefully 23 or 24, where we are in the pecking order. I'll put in for three weeks. I'm redacting something that I'll put out shortly.  Adjourned.

On July 14, it was ordered that Parnas will get not one but two trials, with "Fraud Guarantee" severed (with the government's consent) - "Because Correia has pleaded guilty and Furman and Kukushkin are not alleged to have been involved in the Fraud Guarantee Scheme, Parnas is the only defendant charged in Count Seven. Acknowledging that there is relatively little overlap in the trial evidence that would be offered in connection with the Fraud Guarantee Scheme and the other two schemes, the Government does not object to severance of Count Seven for trial under Rule 14(a). The Court agrees. Defendants’ motion to sever the Fraud Guarantee Scheme (Count Seven) for trial is granted pursuant to Rule 14(a)." Inner City Press will covered both trials, and more.

  Earlier, Correia tried to withhold filings; Inner City Press opposed it and prevailed. He pleaded guilty and now on January 25 partially redacted his sentencing submission, which requested a "non-custodial sentence" - no jail time.

 On February 8 Judge Oetken held the sentencing - resulted in a year and a day to allow "good time" - and Inner City Press live tweeted it here (Podcast here). He got a year and a day.

  Filed on May 25 (but dated May 20), a letter by Parnas' lawyer Joseph Bondy purported to redact portions about the targets of the warrants against Giuliani and Giuliani Partners:

"In a chart, the Government identified that it had sought and seized a variety of undisclosed materials from multiple individuals, including: the iCloud and e-mail accounts of Rudolph Giuliani (11/04/19); the iCloud account of Victoria Toensing (11/04/19); an email account believed to belong to former Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Yuriy Lutsenko (11/6/19); an e-mail account believed to belong to the former head of the Ukrainian Fiscal Service, Roman Nasirov (12/10/19); the e-mail account of Victoria Toensing (12/13/19); the iPhone and iPad of pro-Trump Ukrainian businessman Alexander Levin (02/28/2020 and 3/02/2020); an iCloud account believed to belong to Roman Nasirov (03/03/2020); historical and prospective cell site information related to Rudolph Giuliani and Victoria Toensing (04/13/2021); electronic devices of Rudolph Giuliani and Giuliani Partners LLC (04/21/2021); and the iPhone of Victoria Toensing." 

On May 26, Judge Oekten belatedly ordered the already released and quoted letter to be sealed. Perhaps he had to - the US Attorney's Office put in a letter asking, of its letter, that it "respectfully requests that the unredacted version of this letter be maintained under seal because the redacted material concerns sealed search warrants, discovery subject to the protective order and/or relates to an ongoing investigation."

In their letter, there are docket numbers redacted.
Judge Oetken ordered a special master.

Now on May 28, docketed June 1, the Parnas et al. defendants have requested that the Special Master also identify evidence of "discriminatory intent" that supports the Defendants' selective prosecution argument. "LETTER REPLY TO RESPONSE to Motion by Lev Parnas addressed to Judge J. Paul Oetken from Joseph A. Bondy dated June 1, 2021 re [194] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge J. Paul Oetken from Joseph A. Bondy dated May 27, 2021 re: Request, Joined by all Defense Counsel, for a Status Conference on Certain Discovery-Related Issues (ECF Redacted) .. (Bondy, Joseph)." We'll have more on this.

 On February 12, the trial for the other three defendants was pushed back to October 4: "ORDER as to Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman, Andrey Kukushkin: The jury trial in this case is hereby scheduled to commence on October 4, 2021, with jury selection beginning at 9:30 a.m. Time excluded from 2/12/2021 until 10/4/2021."

From February 8: Judge Oetken is in his courtroom, brown wood behind him. Correia is in a white room; his lawyer Bill Harrington in another room, with books. AUSA Nicolas Roos in yet another, with degrees 

Judge Oetken: The sentencing guidelines provide offense level of 23, minus 3 for accepting responsibility. Guideline is 33 to 41 months. Mr. Harrington? You have to unmute. Correia's lawyer Harrington: The 33 month guideline is crude. David received only $43,000

 Harrington: David had an honest belief in Fraud Guarantee. He had a modest upbringing. That's why he went into business with Lev Parnas. He's learned about since his arrest, about who Mr. Parnas is.

Harrington: Two of the victims talk positively about David. If he goes to jail, he'll face dietary issues. He made mistakes in judgment.

 AUSA Roos: Correia was the closer with Victim-7. And he lived a lavish lifestyle. Victim-6 invested his nest egg and his family was injured, exposed to press attention. That can't be overlooked.

AUSA Roos: There's an irony: this business purported to be about combatting fraud. But they were stealing money. He guaranteed fraud. This was brazen. A guidelines sentence is appropriate. 

AUSA Roos: The government is willing to consider a delayed surrender. He has a vaccination underweigh. Judge Oetken: Tell me about relative culpability, compared to Mr. Parnas. It's difficult, since Mr. Parnas hasn't pled and says he'll go to trial.

 AUSA Roos: Mr. Parnas the big ideas guy. Mr. Correia told people where to wire the money, a key role in a wire fraud. Inner City Press @innercitypress · 41m Judge Oetken: When the co-defendants were arrested, Mr. Correia was in the Middle East. Was there for Fraud Guarantee? AUSA Roos: He also worked on Global Energy Producers.

 Judge Oetken: Victim-6 gave 2 $250,000 wires to Attorney-1. Was that for Fraud Guarantee? AUSA Roos: It's immaterial. Correia said Attorney-1 would help with a number of things.

Judge Oetken: The false statement to the FEC? AUSA Roos: It's a straw donor violation. AUSA Roos: Here the straw is the company. Mr. Correia did not plead guilty to these substantive counts. Harrington: Mr. Correia has agreed to restitution. Attorney-1 is a high profile attorney. He was doing nothing else for the money except for Fraud Guarantee.

Correia himself: I let down many people. I have tried to make sense of this. I want be a good person. I feel true remorse. Thank you.

Judge Oetken: I am persuaded that Mr. Correia know. The irony of the business being named Fraud Guarantee cannot be missed.

 Judge Oetken: One of the victim said, they caused me loss and grief by defrauding me. It was not a momentary lapse of judgement, it went on for years. Fraudsters often say, they thought it would all work out in the end. There's also the FEC.

Judge Oetken: Mr. Correia became a talented golfer. 2 of 7 victims support him. In the end, there must be a significant punishment. 33 months is not unreasonable. But I will vary. Mr. Correia received a small proportion of the money. And he has medical conditions.

 Judge Oetken: I am open to deferring his surrender date to May, depending on vaccination - that's when BOP aims for full vaccination. All new entrants into the system will be vaccinated. I decided on 12 months and one day in prison. One day, so Good Time possible  Judge Oekten: There's also restitution. The schedule of victims will be under seal.

  Things ended with Harrington questioning if Correia had been read his appeals rights. He was told he has been. Inner City Press will continue to report on these cases.

  Now on February 1, the US has asked for the guideline sentence, of 33 to 41 months.  The US says, "The text messages referenced herein have been produced to Correia in discovery and will be produced to the Court upon request." And what about the public and press? We'll have more on this.

Inner City Press has opposed sealed filings - now possibly including Correia's pleas agreements whether docketed or marked.

 On November 12, noting Inner City Press' advocacy to unseal, Judge J. Paul Oetken  ordered the full unsealing of Correia's declarations, in five business days. Full order now on DocumentCloud here, including: "After considering counsel’s justifications for sealing or redacting the declarations (see Dkt. No. 128),1 [FN1: The Court also takes notice of the letter filed by Matthew Russell Lee advocating for public access to these declarations. (See Dkt. No. 126)], the Court orders counsel to promptly file the unredacted declarations on the public docket."

 And now, as advocated for by Inner City Press, here it is, on DocumentCloud here.

The unsealed affidavit: "I am moving to withdraw because Mr. Correia has not paid me for any of the legal work I have performed for him. Mr. Correia retained me around the time of his arrest. Since that time, Mr. Correia and I have discussed fees on many occasions and he has expressed confidence that he would soon be in a position to pay for his legal representation. As recently as September 19, 2020, Mr. Correia said that he hoped he could soon pay his fees. But he has not been able to do so. Based on my conversations with Mr. Correia, and his continued inability to raise funds, I believe that his finances will qualify him for appointed counsel. 4. Until last week, an important factor in my decision to give Mr. Correia more time to pay was the very limited scope of the prior charge against him. It alleged his participation in a single conspiracy that primarily involved a Cannabis business and a small number of Fall 2018 political contributions in Nevada. 5. The charges against Mr. Correia changed dramatically this past Thursday, September 17, 2020, when the Government filed a superseding indictment (the “S1 Indictment”) that vastly expands the scope and complexity of charges against Mr. Correia. 6. Count Seven of the S1 Indictment newly alleges that Mr. Correia engaged in a securities fraud scheme involving an insurance-product company, claiming that 7 victims were defrauded in excess of one million dollars over almost 7 years based on false statements about the finances of that company.

7. Counts Two and Three of the S l Indictment further add charges that Mr. Correia made false statements and submitted falsified records to the FEC related to whether a different entity - a liquified natural gas company - was a bona fide business enterprise. 8. Given the breadth of the new allegations, this is now a much more extensive case than the one I had been retained to def end. 9. Regarding the case calendar, prior to the S l Indictment, the Court set a case schedule. Last week, the parties began discussing the need to request that the Court adjust that case schedule in light of the new charges, ongoing discovery, and the COVID pandemic. a. Discovery. The Government has made voluminous productions, but they are nonetheless ongoing. In a teleconference on Friday, the Government indicated that it had a "fair bit" of additional discovery to make, including a "sizeable email production" that it anticipated making in l O days. b. Motions. The Court had previously set a pretrial motions deadline of October 5, 2020. The parties are discussing the motion schedule in light of the SI Indictment, and I anticipate a request to adjourn those dates. c. Trial. A trial date was also set for February I, 2021. Though still almost five months away, there is a question as to whether this date will hold given current court procedures that severely limit jury trials in the district during the pandemic. 10. I informed the Government that I intended to file this withdrawal motion and that nonpayment is the basis of the motion. I have not otherwise provided them with the details in this declaration and I respectfully request that the Court accept it ex parte and under seal."  So where is Avenatti's filing?

 The logic also applies, inter alia, to the still withheld financial declarations of Michael Avenatti, here.

  On October 29 Correia pleaded guilty to two counts. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here:

Correia's taxpayer paid lawyer, William Harrington of Goodwin Proctor, confirms he'll plead guilty. Turns out he prefers his name to be said "Korea," not Correia like belt in Spanish.

Judge Oetken making requires findings under the CARES Act. Will he do DPPA too?

Correia is pleading to Counts 2 and 7 of the superseding indictment: False Statements to the FEC and The Fraud Guarantee Scheme. Correia went three quarters of the way through college, he says. Never treated for mental illness. Gastro-intestinal is his only doctor 

AUSA Doug Zolkind, insisting on calling him "Correia" like belt, not Korea, runs through the elements of each count. Judge Oetken: Are you a US citizen? Correia: Yes, your Honor.

 Now the plea agreement that the US Attorney's Office has agreed to for Correia:  

guideline sentence of 33 to 41 months. Fine of $15,000 to $150,000.

Judge Oekten: Tell me what you did.

Correia: I have a statement. My declaration said things that were false, I filed it to get FEC to end their investigation. I knew it was wrong. Judge Oekten: What about count 7? Correia: I have false info about Fraud Guaranty

Correia adds that he thought Fraud Guaranty was a great project. AUSA Zolkind: Did the defendant know it would be carried out by interstate wires?

Correia: They were in fact used. AUSA Zolkind says woulda used emails. He references Parnas and Fruman

 AUSA Zolkind: They committed straw donations. Correia filed a false affidavit, about "substantial bone fide" investments. He knew they were false, for the $325,000 donation. Also he lied about Fraud Guaranty, which had no operations nor insurance products.

AUSA Zolkind: 7 victims invested in Fraud Guaranty, between $250,000 and $500,000 each. But this paid Parnas' rent and luxury cars, retail store purchases.  Multiple meetings were held in Manhattan.  Correia's lawyer: Mr. Correia got very little of the money.

Judge Oetken: Mr. Correia, I hereby accept your guilty plea. For sentencing,  how about February 12? Correia's lawyer wants it earlier. Judge Oetken: February 8, at 11:30 am, then. AUSA Zolkind: The plea agreement says he withdraws mandamus in 2d Cir.

AUSA Zolkind wants to file plea agreement under seal. Judge Oetken: I don't usually put plea agreements on the docket. Then people could figure out who's a cooperator.

AUSA Zolkind: But press could request it. So we want it redacted.

Judge Oetken: I won't mark it as a court exhibit. Adjourned.

[Inner City Press: The plea agreement is clearly a judicial document, whether docketed or not, whether made a court exhibit or not (these may be seen as evasions of transparency.]

 Inner City Press filed, now docketed, this: "Hon. J. Paul Oetken, United States District Judge Southern District of New York, 40 Foley Square, New York, NY 10007  Re: US v. Correia, 19-cr-725-3 (JPO) - Motion for Leave To Be Heard / Press Request To Unseal Dear Judge Oetken:    On behalf of Inner City Press and in my personal capacity, I have been covering the above-captioned case since it was filed. This concerns documents filed under (requested) seal in the case, 19-cr-725.    Defense counsel have "request[ed] that this motion be accepted ex parte and filed under seal." This is opposition.    Formally, PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that Inner City Press and its undersigned reporter, in personal capacity, will move this Court before Honorable J. Paul Oetken, U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of New York, at a date and time directed by the Court, for entry of an order granting permission to the heard on/and the unsealing of documents filed and/or submitted in 19-cr-725 (JPO), pursuant to Docket No. 122 in that case and the Court's inherent power, and such other and further relief as the Court deem just and proper.     As the Court is aware, the public and the press have a presumptive First Amendment and common law right of access to criminal proceedings and records. See Press Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California, 464 U.S. 501, 508 (1984). The presumption of openness can only be overcome if “specific, on the record findings are made demonstrating that closure is essential to preserve higher values and is narrowly tailored to serve that interest.” Press–Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 478 U.S. 1, 13-14 (1986) Non-parties such as Inner City Press and myself have standing to intervene in criminal proceedings to assert the public’s right of access. United States v. Aref, 533 F.3d 72, 81 (2d Cir. 2008). ...

  A trial date of October 5 was set, with another conference if necessary penciled in for July 16 at 2:30 pm. Afterward in front of 40 Foley Square Parnas' lawyer Bondy snarked at the impeachment trial as a trial by friends; Parnas said he's trying to get the truly about Trump and Giuliani and Ukraine out, but declined to answer if he is cooperating. Then he got into a big black car, saying he was glad to be back in New York. Inner City Press Periscope video here.

 Inner City Press said it would be there- and it was. The case is US v. Parnas, et al., 19-cr-00725 (Oetken).


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