A former associate of Rudy Giuliani who was convicted of helping funnel money from a Russian oligarch into a bid to open a cannabis business will be able to enjoy the leafy plant while on parole after a stint in federal prison, a judge ruled. on Monday.
Manhattan federal judge Paul Oetken granted Lev Parnas’ compelling request that he be allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons while on three years of supervised release.
Parnas, 51, made the request less than a week after being released from federal custody following his conviction for his role in a conspiracy to illegally divert money from Russian businessmen to political campaigns in states where he and others wanted to open recreational marijuana businesses.
In a letter to the court filed hours before the judge issued his decision Monday, Parnas’ attorney, Joseph Bondy, explained that the Soviet-born former Giuliani associate is “a long-standing registered medical cannabis patient.” a long time in the state of Florida.
Bondy added that Parnas was given the same leeway to smoke when he was out on bail before his sentencing in October 2021.
Neither the probation department nor the U.S. Attorney’s office objected to Parnas’ request, Bondy’s letter said.
Rudy Giuliani’s former associate Lev Parnas is asking a judge to allow him to use medical marijuana while on probation.REUTERS
Parnas was sentenced to serve 20 months behind bars in June 2020 and was released on Sept. 5 after being sent to a medium-security lockup upstate in Otisville, New York, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
“Yesterday I was released from BOP custody after finishing serving my sentence,” Parnas wrote last week in X – formally known as Twitter. “It has been 4 long years since my arrest on October 10, 2019.”
“This ordeal has been very difficult for my wife and children,” the post continues. “We are ready for our new chapter in life. Thank you all for supporting me in my mission to bring the truth to light!”
Federal prison officials confirmed that Parnas was released from federal prison on February 28 to a community confinement program in Miami.
Parnas was released from federal custody last week.AP
They did not specify whether Parnas had been living in a halfway house or on home confinement after his release from Otisville.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have said that Parnas, who connected Giuliani to contacts in Ukraine to help unearth Hunter Biden, executed two schemes.
First, he and his co-conspirators Igor Fruman, Andrey Kukushkin and Andrey Muraviev allegedly hatched a plan to start a business acquiring marijuana retail licenses. They then attempted to curry favor with political candidates by illegally donating to their campaigns in the November 2018 elections in the hopes of helping them obtain licenses.
Parnas’ attorney said he had been granted permission to use medical marijuana while out on bail before trial. AP
The million dollars in donation funds came from Muraviev, a Russian oligarch, who tried to hide that he was the true source of the money.
Parnas only managed to donate $100,000 of the illegal campaign cash, prosecutors said.
In the second scheme, to which Parnas pleaded guilty in March 2022, he and David Corriea defrauded wealthy investor friends out of $2 million to live lavishly, which included taking private jets and staying in luxury hotels.
Parnas has been ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to the people he defrauded.
All of the co-defendants, except Muraviev, who remains at large, were sentenced to just over a year in prison.
Parnas cooperated with Congress’ first impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump.
He also criticized his former friend Giuliani after his sentencing, telling reporters: “I will continue to bring the truth to light. “There is a lot more to say about Rudy Giuliani, the president: the former president, the former Trump and everything they did.”
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, has since been indicted on criminal charges along with Trump and 17 others for alleged interference in the 2020 election in Georgia.
Parnas’ attorney had no comment Monday.