Revealed: Rudy Giuliani was overheard saying he planned to ‘get rid of’ his phone number in a voicemail where he asked to speak to Lev Parnas – weeks after his former business partner was arrested
- Giuliani left voicemail to former, now-indicted associate but failed to hang up
- He is overheard giving his number to his Ukrainian-born ex-partner Lev Parnas
- Giuliani then says to someone else: ‘That’s the soon to be gotten rid of number’
- Parnas’s lawyer on Tuesday asked for campaign contributions charges to be thrown out of federal court and suggested Giuliani may have destroyed evidence
Rudy Giuliani was overheard saying he planned to ‘get rid of’ his phone number in a voicemail trying to get hold of his former business partner, a court in Manhattan has heard.
A lawyer for Lev Parnas, the Ukrainian-born businessman, told a federal judge Tuesday that Giuliani tried to get hold of his client just weeks after his arrest.
Giuliani, who is no stranger to butt-dialling reporters, said: ‘It’s Rudy Giuliani. I’m calling, uh, to see if we can talk either about or with Lev. I have my lawyer with me, but you can call me back at (giving his number).’
In an aside to his own lawyer, the 76-year-old is then overheard saying: ‘That’s the soon to be gotten rid of number’.
Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani speaks at a news conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington on November 19, 2020
Parnas’s defense attorney Joseph Bondy said it raised concerns that Giuliani might have destroyed evidence.
‘Mr. Giuliani’s entreaty to speak with Mr. Parnas went unanswered, and it is unknown whether Mr. Giuliani actually altered or destroyed any evidence associated with his cell phone, nor why he might have felt a need to get “rid of” his number,’ Bondy wrote.
Parnas and three of his partners, Igor Fruman, David Correia and Andrew Kukushkin, were charged in October 2019 with making illegal campaign donations to local and federal politicians in order to further their business and political interests.
Bondy on Tuesday sought the dismassal of the charges against Parnas, saying he suspected Attorney General William Barr orchestrated Parnas’ indictment ‘as a means to protect the President and thwart his potential testimony in the impeachment inquiry.’
He asked the judge to order the White House and Justice Department turn over any emails or text messages in which they discussed the decision to charge his client with making illegal campaign contributions.
Bondy also requested a hearing to determine why Vice President Mike Pence and others weren’t prosecuted for receiving ‘improper’ campaign contributions.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan declined to comment.
Lev Parnas arrives to court in Manhattan, New York on December 2
Some of the charges against Parnas, Fruman, Correia and Kukushkin involved an effort to win support for a new recreational marijuana business.
Fruman and Parnas were also involved in an effort by Giuliani to get officials in Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son over his work with an energy company there.
They made sizable campaign contributions to Republican candidates and political action committees while trying to get Americans interested in investigating Hunter Biden.
Trump’s efforts to press Ukraine for an investigation of the Bidens led the House to impeach him, though he was later acquitted by the Senate.
When Parnas was arrested in October 2019, Democrats in the U.S. House were seeking his testimony about his involvement with Giuliani’s Ukrainian effort.
Among other things, Parnas provided congressional investigators with a recording of an April 2018 dinner meeting in which President Donald Trump demanded the removal of U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch from Ukraine.
Giuliani, a Republican, has said he knew nothing about illegal campaign donations. He has not been charged.
Parnas with President Donald Trump in an undated photo shared by his lawyer earlier this year
Parnas and Correia also were charged with defrauding investors in a business called Fraud Guarantee. Prosecutors said the men misled investors about the strength of the company and their business model and, in some cases, used the invested money for personal expenses.
In his legal filing Tuesday, Bondy didn’t offer evidence that there had been any interference by the White House in the campaign fraud investigation, which was overseen by prosecutors in New York.
But he wrote that the public was skeptical.
‘Millions of Americans already believe that Attorney General Barr may have interfered in some aspect of Mr. Parnas´s investigation and prosecution,’ Bondy said in the filing.