Giuliani associate Parnas unable to pay both lawyers, agrees to let one withdraw


(Reuters) – A lawyer for Lev Parnas, an associate of U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who has been charged with campaign finance violations, has requested to be withdrawn as counsel because of Parnas’ inability to pay both his lawyers, according to a filing made on Christmas Eve.

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

“Since I entered my appearance, Mr. Parnas’ apparent ability to fund his defense has diminished,” attorney Edward MacMahon Jr said in a filing with the federal court in Manhattan.

“It thus would constitute a significant hardship for Mr. Parnas to continue being represented by two attorneys in this matter,” MacMahon said, adding that Parnas had agreed to his request to withdraw.

New York-based criminal defense attorney Joseph Bondy, Parnas’ other lawyer, will continue to represent him, according to the filing.

Parnas, a Ukraine-born U.S. citizen, has been charged alongside another Florida businessman, Belarus-born Igor Fruman, with illegally funneling money to a pro-Trump election committee and other politicians. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Giuliani has said that Parnas and Fruman assisted him in investigating Trump’s Democratic political rival Joe Biden and Biden’s son Hunter, who served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.

The decision for MacMahon’s withdrawal was made in the best interests of both Parnas and MacMahon, Bondy said in a tweet here

“The legal strategy has not changed, and Mr. Parnas remains firmly committed to providing his evidence and testimony to Congress,” Bondy said.

(This story adds dropped word “son” in 6th paragraph.)

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler

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