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Giuliani associates accused in Ukraine scandal plead not guilty

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:49s - Published
Giuliani associates accused in Ukraine scandal plead not guilty

Giuliani associates accused in Ukraine scandal plead not guilty

Two Soviet-born Florida businessmen who helped President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani investigate political rival Joe Biden pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to illegally funneling money to a pro-Trump election committee and other politicians.Tamara Lindstrom reports.

While the impeachment drama unfolds in the nation's capitol, in New York a subplot is underway.

Two Soviet-born Florida businessmen made their first New York court appearance Wednesday to face charges of illegally funneling money to a pro-Trump election committee and other politicians.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman both pleaded not guilty.

Parnas spoke to reporters as he left the courthouse.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LEV PARNAS, ACCUSED OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE CRIMES, SAYING: "Many false things have been said about me and my family in the press and media recently.

I look forward to defending myself vigorously in court, and I'm certain that in time truth will be revealed and I will be vindicated." Federal prosecutors have accused Parnas and Fruman of using a shell company to donate $325,000 to the pro-Trump committee, America First Action, and raising money for former Texas Congressman Pete Sessions... all allegedly part of an effort to have President Donald Trump remove the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovich.

Trump ordered Yovanovitch removed in May.

The arraignment comes as federal prosecutors are examining Rudy Giuliani's interactions with Parnas and Fruman.

The pair helped Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer, in his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.

Parnas and Fruman's arrest at a Washington-area airport earlier this month was yet another political hazard for Trump amid a fast-moving impeachment inquiry by the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.

Parnas and Fruman have been asked to provide documents and testimony in the impeachment inquiry.

The inquiry is centered on the Republican president's request in a July phone call for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Biden, a top contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

The request came after Trump had withheld $391 million in security aid to Ukraine, which he later released.




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