U.S. seeks up to 46 months prison for ex-Giuliani associate Fruman

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FILE PHOTO: Russian-born businessman Igor Fruman leaves after his arraignment at the United States Courthouse in the Manhattan borough of New York

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK – U.S. prosecutors said on Friday that Igor Fruman, a one-time associate of Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani who helped collect damaging information about Joe Biden, should spend 37 to 46 months in prison after pleading guilty in an unrelated campaign finance case.

In a Manhattan federal court filing, prosecutors called the sentence sufficient to punish Fruman over his “lead role” in soliciting $1 million in foreign contributions “for the express purpose of using that money to influence U.S. elections.”

The proposed sentence mirrors recommended federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken is scheduled to sentence Fruman on Jan. 21.

Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Fruman, declined to comment.

Last Friday, he recommended that his client receive no prison time, citing among other reasons Fruman’s more than two years in home confinement and acceptance of responsibility.

Oetken also presided over an October trial where co-defendant Lev Parnas, another former Giuliani associate, was found guilty https://www.reuters.com/world/us/ex-giuliani-associate-parnas-found-guilty-violating-us-campaign-finance-law-2021-10-22 of violating campaign finance laws.

Another co-defendant, Andrey Kukushkin, was also found guilty at that trial.

The Belarus-born Fruman and Ukraine-born businessman Parnas had originally been charged in October 2019 with concealing an illegal $325,000 donation to support former President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Fruman’s plea related to a separate effort to obtain legal, recreational marijuana distribution licenses.

In his allocution https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/igor-fruman-ex-associate-giuliani-says-he-will-plead-guilty-2021-09-10, Fruman said he had envisioned making donations to Democratic and Republican officials in U.S. states where he wanted to operate, and sent a list of those officials to the foreign national.

He said he had “little experience” with rules governing political donations, but “generally understood” that foreign nationals were not to make such donations in the United States.

Before the charges were brought, Giuliani had enlisted Fruman and Parnas to help uncover dirt on Biden, then a presidential candidate and now U.S. president, and his son Hunter.

Giuliani has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)