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Attorney Leaving Indicted Giuliani Associate Because ‘Ability to Fund’ Defense Has ‘Diminished’


One of the attorneys who has been representing indicted Rudy Giuliani business associate Lev Parnas in a Southern District of New York criminal case has filed a motion to withdraw.

Attorney Edward MacMahon filed a motion to withdraw in Judge J. Paul Oetken’s court on Christmas Eve, saying that the well, so to speak, is running dry.

“In this action, I am joined by New York-based criminal defense attorney Joseph A. Bondy as co-counsel,” MacMahon said. “Since I entered my appearance, Mr. Parnas’ apparent ability to fund his defense has diminished. It thus would constitute a significant hardship for Mr. Parnas to continue being represented by two attorneys in this matter.”

Attorney Joseph A. Bondy will continue to represent Parnas, MacMahon said.

“I have discussed this matter fully with Mr. Parnas, who, given my location out of district and his circumstances, consents to my filing the instant request to withdraw from his criminal matter,” the Tuesday filing continued. “I have also discussed this matter with Mr. Bondy, who is prepared to assume all aspects of Mr. Parnas’ defense.”

Parnas’s money has been in the news for other reasons of late. Prosecutors accused him of lying about his income and assets, and attempted to have Parnas jailed ahead of trial.

Parnas faces two counts of conspiracy, one count of making false statements, and one count of falsification of records, in connection with a “scheme to funnel foreign money” to Republican candidates (alleged campaign finance violations).

The judge denied prosecutors’ request to revoke Parnas’s bail, saying “I find that they’re not obvious misstatements.” The judge still voiced concerns.

“There’s certainly lots of suspicious activity here,” Oetken said.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebekah Donaleski, Parnas concealed a $1 million “loan,” which was deposited in Svetlana Parnas’s (Lev Parnas’s wife’s) bank account. Prosecutors wonder if this was really a loan to buy a home or a loan disguised as a payment from Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash.

Firtash is a Ukrainian oligarch under indictment for bribery in the U.S., whose success is said to have been “built on remarkable sweetheart deals brokered by associates of Russian leader Vladimir Putin,” allegedly deposited the $1 million through Swiss attorney Ralph Isenegger.

Firtash, Parnas, and indicted Ukrainian-American businessman Igor Fruman — Parnas’s co-defendant — have all been involved in Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

Parnas attorney withdraws by Law&Crime on Scribd

Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.

[Image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.