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Former Rudy Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas Convicted Of Making Illegal Campaign Contributions

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York jury convicted a former associate of Rudy Giuliani on Friday of charges that he made illegal campaign contributions to influence U.S. politicians and advance his business interests.

The verdict was returned in Manhattan federal court, where Lev Parnas was on trial for more than two weeks as prosecutors accused him of using other people's money to pose as a powerful political broker and cozy up to some of the nation's star Republican political figures.

One part of the case alleged that Parnas and an associate made illegal donations through a corporate entity to Republican political committees in 2018, including a $325,000 donation to America First Action, a super PAC supporting former President Donald Trump.

Another part said he used the wealth of a Russian financier, Andrey Muraviev, to make donations to U.S. politicians, ostensibly in support of an effort to launch a legal, recreational marijuana business.

Parnas was convicted on all counts. Giuliani wasn't charged in the case.

"A unanimous federal jury has found that Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin conspired to manipulate the United States political system for their own financial gain.  In order to gain influence with American politicians and candidates, they illegally funneled foreign money into the 2018 midterm elections with an eye toward making huge profits in the cannabis business," said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. "Campaign finance laws are designed to protect the integrity of our free and fair elections –  unencumbered by foreign interests or influence – and safeguarding those laws is essential to preserving the freedoms that Americans hold sacred."

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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