A former associate of Rudy Giuliani was sentenced by a federal judge Friday to a year and a day in prison on a campaign-finance charge, capping the fall of a key figure in the first impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump.
Florida businessman Igor Fruman pleaded guilty in September in a New York federal court to soliciting a political contribution from a foreign national. Federal prosecutors accused him and others of conspiring to funnel money from a wealthy Russian businessman to influence American politics. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from making political contributions in U.S. elections.
U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken said before sentencing Mr. Fruman that his actions added to public cynicism about the U.S. political system.
“It undermines the integrity of elections in our country,” Judge Oetken said.
Federal sentencing guidelines suggested a term of 37 months to 46 months in prison. In choosing a lower sentence, the judge cited Mr. Fruman’s charitable work, as well as the defendant’s time living under home confinement during the case. He also ordered Mr. Fruman to pay a $10,000 fine.
Mr. Fruman said at the sentencing that his actions were “a shame that will live with me forever.”
Assistant U.S. attorney Hagan Scotten asked the judge for a term of imprisonment within the sentencing guidelines, saying crimes like Mr. Fruman’s make the electorate think the political system is corrupt.
Mr. Fruman and another Florida businessman, Lev Parnas, were charged in the donation scheme in 2019. Their arrests drew attention to their roles in aiding Mr. Giuliani’s alleged attempts to persuade Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden, then Mr. Trump’s top Democratic rival, as well as Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.
Their efforts in the Ukraine matter were part of the impeachment inquiry of Mr. Trump, which began in 2019 and resulted in Mr. Trump’s acquittal in the Senate for alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
Mr. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing with Messrs. Fruman and Parnas. Mr. Trump has said he doesn’t know the two men.
The criminal charges against Messrs. Fruman and Parnas weren’t tied to the alleged Ukraine pressure campaign, but federal investigators have aggressively pursued illegal foreign influence in U.S. elections.
Prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan accused the two men of promoting their political connections to get Andrey Kukushkin and Russian businessman Andrey Muraviev to partner with them on a cannabis venture in the summer of 2018. Mr. Kukushkin operated cannabis dispensaries in California that Mr. Muraviev funded.
The men conspired to use Mr. Muraviev’s money to make over $100,000 in donations to politicians in hopes of getting help in obtaining cannabis licenses in states where the drug is legal, prosecutors said.
Messrs. Parnas and Kukushkin were convicted in October of conspiring to make more than $25,000 in political donations in a calendar year with money from Mr. Muraviev. During the trial, lawyers for Messrs. Parnas and Kukushkin said Mr. Muraviev’s money was a loan for the cannabis venture and wasn’t used for making donations. The two defendants have filed motions to the judge to overturn the verdicts and acquit them.
Mr. Parnas still faces a separate trial on additional fraud charges.
A lawyer for Mr. Parnas declined to comment Friday. A lawyer for Mr. Kukushkin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Muraviev wasn’t charged in the case and hasn’t spoken publicly about the allegations. His lawyer declined to comment Friday.
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Appeared in the January 22, 2022, print edition as ‘Ex-Giuliani Associate Gets Prison Sentence.’