An attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, has turned over photos, dozens of text messages and thousands of pages of documents to House impeachment investigators in an effort to win his client an audience with lawmakers.
Joseph A. Bondy, Parnas’ New York attorney, traveled to Washington, DC, over the weekend to hand-deliver the contents of an iPhone 11 to Democratic staff on the House Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, according to a series of Bondy’s tweets.
“After our trip to DC, we worked through the night providing a trove of Lev Parnas’ WhatsApp messages, text messages & images—not under protective order—to #HPSCI, detailing interactions with a number of individuals relevant to the impeachment inquiry. #LetLevSpeak #LevRemembers,” according to Bondy’s tweet.
Parnas has also provided investigators with documents, recordings, photos, text messages on What’s App, an encrypted messaging platform, and materials from a Samsung phone, according to Bondy. Material from two other devices, an iPad and another iPhone, are also expected to be shared with them.
Bondy declined to comment on what was included in the materials he gave to investigators.
The bid to get an audience with lawmakers comes as Parnas is increasingly under pressure by federal prosecutors who have said they are likely to file additional criminal charges against him. It’s also a gamble by Bondy to establish Parnas’ value as a witness, which – if successful – could win him an audience with prosecutors and possibly leniency.
Prosecutors with the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York seized over a dozen electronic devices, including cell phones, laptop computers and a hard drive from Parnas and his home when he was arrested on October 9 at Dulles International airport.
Parnas, his business partner Igor Fruman, and two others were charged with funneling foreign money into US elections and using a straw donor to obscure the true source of political donations. They have all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
House investigators were interested in Parnas and Fruman as part of the impeachment inquiry as well. The two helped Giuliani arrange meetings with then-current and former Ukrainian government officials as part of his effort to dig up political dirt on President Donald Trump’s rival Joe Biden.
The men were subpoenaed by the House Democrats just before their arrest in October. They refused to cooperate but after changing lawyers Parnas decided to cooperate with the House.
Since late last month prosecutors have begun turning over the materials extracted from the devices, which were sent to the FBI’s lab in Quantico, Virginia, to be cracked. The federal judge overseeing the case has to approve of the transmission of any of the materials to outside parties because there is a protective order in place.
Bondy has been sharing the seized materials with House investigators in hopes they will interview Parnas so he can provide information he believes is material to the impeachment inquiry. He also called for Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from the criminal investigation “so that Lev can be properly evaluated as a witness in the impeachment inquiry.”
“The time to hear the witnesses and see the evidence has come,” Bondy tweeted last week after Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said he wanted to hear from John Bolton, one of Trump’s former national security advisers. He also tweeted a photo of Parnas with his arm draped over the shoulder of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy asking, “Time to call witnesses, correct?”