Lev Parna’s trial judge says he will question future jurors who have strong feelings for Trump or Giuliani

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""US politics"" – Google News

By Kara Scannell

A federal judge overseeing the campaign funding process against Lev Parnas said he was likely to question potential jurors about former President Donald Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani, as their names and pictures are likely to be mentioned during the three-week trial.

Judge Paul Oetken said he would compile a list of questions for potential jurors and involve the former President and Giuliani in an effort to weed out any jurors who had strong feelings for the New York businessman who became president and the former New York mayor and mayor US attorney in Manhattan who may not be able to put aside her political views in assessing the case.

He said he would likely continue to question all jurors “if you can put your preconceptions aside and decide this case on the basis of evidence and law. Yes or no.”

The subject came up at the last trial for Parnas and Andrei Kukushkin, two men accused of using foreign donations in the US election. Parnas and Kukushkin have pleaded not guilty.

The defendants’ lawyers wanted the judge to have potential jurors fill out a long questionnaire to find out the jury’s feelings, which the prosecutors disagreed with. The judge asked both sides how much Trump and Giuliani could include in the case.

Prosecutor Hagan Scotten said he expected them to be mentioned “very marginally” and to demonstrate that Parnas touted his connection to Trump and Giuliani to show that he and his business partner Igor Fruman – who pleaded guilty – had political influence. He said many pictures of Parnas and Fruman with Trump and Giuliani had been sent to Kukushkin to “drop names, look how influential we are”.

Joseph Bondy, an attorney for Parnas, said the names could come up more frequently. “At one point Parnas began to travel with Giuliani, not only to GOP events, but internationally in relation to some of his other endeavors.” He said this was not “the gist of the case,” but added, “I think it will come up fairly often.”

“It seems to me that the jury really needs to be asked about their feelings about these people,” Bondy said.

The judge also made other decisions about what types of evidence could be presented in the trial. He denied Parnas’ efforts to question a witness about his previous dealings with the FBI and narrowed down his potential cross-examination of former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt.

Oetken said Parnas ‘lawyer could not introduce a car accident and the death of Parnas’ father as he did not consider them relevant. But he said Parnas’ training was fair game. Parnas’ attorney suggested that he could argue that his client received a GED college equivalency diploma rather than the advanced degree of some government witnesses who are more knowledgeable about campaign finance laws.

Scotten, the prosecutor, said that if allowed, the government should be able to argue that Parnas graduated from a young age “because he was an incredibly smart student,” with a career in real estate and penny stock trading began and was “something of a serial cheater”.

The process is scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

The CNN Wire
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