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Trial for Giuliani associates Parnas, Fruman pushed to Feb. 2021

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Lev Parnas (C) arrives to federal court with his wife Svetlana Parnas (R) for a hearing on February 3, 2020 in New York City. (AFP photo)

A federal judge has postponed the trial of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two associates of US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, to Feb. 1, 2021 due to coronavirus spread.

Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York announced the decision on Wednesday as a reply to a joint request by the federal prosecutors and Parnas’s attorneys.

The trial had been scheduled for Oct. 5 and was expected to last two to three weeks.

“In light of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties have been in discussions regarding the feasibility of adhering to the schedule currently in place, which calls for pretrial motions to be filed by May 1, 2020, a pretrial conference to be held on July 16, 2020, and trial to commence on October 5, 2020,” the parties wrote in a court filing.

Parnas, a US citizen who emigrated from Ukraine, was indicted last year on charges of conspiracy, making false statements and falsification of records.

His business partner, Igor Fruman, who is also US citizen born in Belarus, was indicted on the same charges.

Prosecutors allege they made campaign donations to Republican causes after receiving millions of dollars originating from Russia.

The two are also involved in an alleged Ukraine pressure campaign that underlay Trump's impeachment trial.

House Democrats launched an impeachment inquiry against Trump in September after an unknown whistle-blower alleged the Republican president pressured his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, who had served as a director for Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

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