October criminal trial date set for Giuliani associates

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NEW YORK (AP) — An October trial date was set Monday for two associates of Rudy Giuliani who are charged with making illegal campaign contributions.

Lev Parnas was the only defendant among four men facing trial to be at a Manhattan courthouse when U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken set the Oct. 5 trial date.

If the trial begins on time, it will occur a month before the presidential election.

Parnas was smiling and wearing an American-flag pin in court. Outside court, he declined to say if he was cooperating. He said he believes the truth will emerge.

Parnas and fellow defendant Igor Fruman had worked with Giuliani to try to convince Ukraine to announce an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

Last week, Parnas got permission from the judge to travel to Washington, where he sought to attend the U.S. Senate's impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. He was not able to get in because he was wearing an electronic bracelet on his ankle as part of his bail conditions.

Parnas and Fruman have pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they made illegal campaign contributions to further their business interests and political goals, including the campaign to get the U.S. to replace Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine.

Parnas recently provided congressional investigators with a recording of an April 2018 dinner meeting in which Trump demanded her removal. She was subsequently removed.

Parnas attended the small dinner at his Washington hotel. The recording seemed to contradict the president's statements that he did not know Parnas.

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