A former associate of Rudy Giuliani who was convicted of smuggling money from a Russian oligarch to open a cannabis business will be able to enjoy the leafy plant while on probation following a stint in federal prison, a judge ruled Monday.
Manhattan federal judge Paul Oetken granted Lev Parnas’ blunt request to allow him to use marijuana for medical reasons while serving a three-year supervised release sentence.
Parnas, 51, made the request less than a week after he was released from federal custody following his conviction for his role in a conspiracy to illegally funnel Russian businessmen’s money into political campaigns in states where he and wanted to open other recreational marijuana shops.
In a letter to the court filed hours before the judge’s decision Monday, Parnas’ attorney Joseph Bondy said the Soviet-born ex-Giuliani employee was “a long-standing registered medical cannabis patient in the state of Florida.” be.
Bondy added that Parnas was given the same leeway when he was released on bail ahead of his October 2021 sentencing.
Neither the parole board nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office objected to Parna’s request, Bondy’s letter said.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Parnas was sentenced to 20 months in prison in June 2020 and released on September 5 after being sent to a maximum security prison in Otisville, New York.
“Yesterday I was released from BOP custody after serving my sentence,” Parnas said wrote last week on X – officially known as Twitter. “It has been a long four years since my arrest on October 10, 2019.”
“This ordeal has been very difficult for my wife and children,” the post continued. “We are ready for our new chapter in life. Thank you to everyone who supported me in my mission to uncover the truth!”
Federal prison officials confirmed that Parnas was released from federal prison on Feb. 28 to a community detention program in Miami.
They did not say whether Parnas had been living in a halfway house or in home isolation after his release from Otisville.
Manhattan prosecutors said Parnas — who linked Giuliani to contacts in Ukraine to help uncover Hunter Biden — carried out two schemes.
Initially, he and his co-conspirators Igor Fruman, Andrey Kukushkin and Andrey Muraviev allegedly hatched a plan to create a company that would acquire marijuana retail licenses. They then attempted to ingratiate themselves with political candidates by illegally donating to their campaigns in the November 2018 election, hoping they could help them obtain licenses.
The $1 million in donations came from Muravyev, a Russian oligarch who tried to hide the fact that he was the real donor.
According to prosecutors, Parnas only managed to donate $100,000 of the illegal campaign money.
In the second scheme, to which Parnas pleaded guilty in March 2022, he and David Corriea extorted wealthy investor friends out of $2 million to live on a grand scale, including using private jets and staying in fancy hotels.
Parnas was ordered to pay $2.3 million to the people he defrauded.
All co-defendants, except Muraviev, who remains at large, were sentenced to just over a year in prison.
Parnas cooperated with Congress’ first impeachment inquiry into former President Donald Trump.
After the sentencing, he also criticized his former pal Giuliani, telling reporters: “I will continue to expose the truth.” There is much more to be revealed about Rudy Giuliani, the president – the ex-president, the ex -President Trump and everything they have done.”
Giuliani – the former mayor of New York City – has since been prosecuted along with Trump and 17 others for alleged interference in Georgia’s 2020 election.
Parnas’ attorney had no comment Monday.