January 3, 2020 / 6:06 PM / 14 days ago

Giuliani associate can give documents sought in Trump impeachment to House panel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday authorised a Rudy Giuliani associate indicted on campaign finance charges to turn over documents and the contents of his iPhone to a House panel as part of the impeachment process against President Donald Trump.

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas, an associate of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, exits after a bail hearing at the Manhattan Federal Court in New York, U.S., December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken in Manhattan said Lev Parnas, the associate of Trump’s personal lawyer Giuliani, may turn over the materials to the House of Representatives’ Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph Bondy, said in a Dec. 30 letter that the materials fell “within the scope” of a congressional subpoena, and that the government did not object to Parnas handing them over.

The iPhone was seized when Parnas was arrested on Oct. 9.

Giuliani has said the Ukraine-born Parnas and another man, Belarus-born Igor Fruman, helped him in investigating one of Trump’s political rivals, Joe Biden, and Biden’s son, Hunter.

Biden, a former U.S. vice president, is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination to run against Trump, a Republican, in November’s election.

Parnas and Fruman were charged in October with federal campaign finance violations, including over a $325,000 (£248,338.05) donation to a committee supporting Trump’s reelection. Both have pleaded not guilty.

Separately, Oetken agreed to let the lawyer Edward MacMahon Jr withdraw from representing Parnas in the criminal case alongside Bondy. MacMahon said he made the request after determining that Parnas was unable to afford both lawyers.

The Democratic-led House on Dec. 18 impeached Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The case is U.S. v Parnas et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00725.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Nick Macfie

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