A lawyer for Rudy Giuliani’s indicted associate Igor Fruman said in court on Friday that it was “completely false” his client was fleeing the country before his arrest but “absolutely true” his client had a one-way ticket out of the country.
The amusing exchange, as chronicled by BuzzFeed News’s Ema Connor:
Just leaving a hearing for Fruman, one of Guliani’s Ukraine guys. His lawyer was requesting modifications to his bail agreement, which has him on house arrest w a GPS tracker and a $1 million bond. His lawyer tried argue that Fruman was not a flight risk. It did not go well…
Fruman lawyer: The allegations that, when Fruman was arrested on the beltway at Dulles airport w a one-way ticket to Vienna, he was “fleeing the country, are completely false. There is zero evidence.” Judge: False he had a one-way ticket?
Lawyer: “No that is absolutely true.”
Well okay, then. If this is making your head spin, Fruman’s attorney Todd Blanche (who also represents Paul Manafort) offered an explanation that the government quickly shot down as implausible. Blanche was attempting to convince a judge that his client is not a flight risk, and that Fruman’s bail conditions should be relaxed.
Blanche reportedly argued that “it was cheaper to get a one-way ticket […] $8k vs. $20k,” adding that Fruman books his flights this way normally. Blanche said he is prepared to prove this.
The government shot back that Fruman was subpoenaed by Congress on Oct. 7, booked a one-way flight to Vienna, Austria on the next day, and was arrested “on the jetway” the day after that.
Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-Floridian co-founder of the company Fraud Guarantee (a company the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he was paid $500,000 to advise), was arrested on Oct. 9, along with Fruman. The two were instrumental in Giuliani’s efforts to convince the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. Their arrests occurred at Dulles Airport in Virginia, from where they were attempting to leave the U.S. via a one-way ticket, Fruman’s attorney now confirms. The Southern District of New York (SDNY) charged Fruman and Parnas for alleged campaign finance violations (two counts of conspiracy, one count of making false statements, and one count of falsification of records).
Giuliani, for his part, is now a subject in the ongoing criminal investigation.
Giuliani has said that Parnas and his company Fraud Guarantee retained the services of his management and security firm Giuliani Partners LLC in August 2018 to consult on business technology and to provide legal advice on regulatory issues. Parnas and Fraud Guarantee reportedly paid Giuliani $500,000 in two installments. SDNY even subpoenaed former GOP representative Pete Sessions (Sessions was “Congressman-1” in the Parnas-Fruman indictment); Sessions’s knowledge of Giuliani’s dealings was reportedly a “primary focus” of the subpoena. There is also a related counterintelligence angle to the probe of Giuliani.
The president’s personal attorney is reportedly seeking an attorney of his own.
[Image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]