New Charges ‘Likely’ in Case Against Giuliani Associates – The New York Times

Prosecutors expect to expand an indictment against two Soviet-born men whom Rudolph W. Giuliani enlisted to pressure Ukraine on President Trump’s behalf.

Lev Parnas and his wife, Svetlana, leaving federal court in Manhattan on Monday.Credit…Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Additional charges are likely in the criminal case against two longtime associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

The associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested in October and charged with concealing the source of political donations in order to advance their own business interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials. They have pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts related to violations of campaign finance laws.

At a hearing Monday in Manhattan, a federal judge asked prosecutors if they intended to update their indictment with new charges. Douglas S. Zolkind, an assistant United States attorney, responded that the investigation was not over. “We think a superseding indictment is likely, but no decision has been made,” Mr. Zolkind said.

Later in the hearing, when a lawyer for Mr. Parnas asked that house arrest conditions be loosened for his client, Mr. Zolkind said Mr. Parnas was still under investigation for additional crimes.

At the same hearing, another defense lawyer asked the government to reveal whether any information in the investigation was derived from warrantless surveillance or other eavesdropping techniques — suggesting that the government might have used the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or another legal justification to intercept the communications of people close to the defendants.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman played major roles in the effort by Mr. Trump and Mr. Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government to commit to investigations that could be politically helpful to Mr. Trump. The conduct is at the heart of House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry.

Still, they have not been charged in connection with the work they did on behalf of Mr. Giuliani to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter.

Instead, federal prosecutors in Manhattan have accused them of making illegal campaign contributions to political candidates in the United States in exchange for potential influence.

On Monday, prosecutors gave no hint in court what new charges — or new defendants — might be added to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors are also investigating whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, people familiar with the inquiry have said.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were indicted alongside two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin. The indictment accused the four men of participating in a separate scheme to conceal the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions that came from overseas donors. It is illegal for foreigners to donate to political campaigns in the United States.

Mr. Correia and Mr. Kukushkin have also pleaded not guilty.

Since the four men were indicted in October, prosecutors have continued their investigation. F.B.I. agents are still working to unlock several cellphones and other electronic devices seized after the arrests, prosecutors said on Monday.

Grand jury subpoenas sent to several players in Mr. Trump’s fund-raising apparatus in recent weeks suggest federal investigators are examining potential violations of criminal laws governing lobbying in the United States on behalf of a foreign government.

One basis for a foreign lobbying violation could be the conduct outlined in the indictment involving efforts to oust the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked on behalf of Ukrainian government officials to influence American politicians who could assist in their effort to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Trump fired Ms. Yovanovitch as ambassador earlier this year, after she had become the target of a smear campaign by Mr. Giuliani. In a July 25 telephone conversation, Mr. Trump told the president of Ukraine that Ms. Yovanovitch was “bad news” and that “she’s going to go through some things.” That call ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry.

It was a lawyer for Mr. Kukushkin, Gerald B. Lefcourt, who raised the question of whether the defendants’ messages had been intercepted by the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program or other means. His basis for suspecting such surveillance, he said, was the fact that the case involved foreign citizens and national security issues. If so, the defense could argue that evidence should not be shown to a jury at trial, he said.

Mr. Zolkind declined to say if the government had intercepted any messages from the defendants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But he said the government did not intend to use evidence obtained through warrantless surveillance. He also said he did not expect the government’s evidence to include classified material.

After the hearing, Mr. Lefcourt said he wanted the judge to order the government to reveal the existence of any improper surveillance.

“When there is a claim of illegal or unauthorized surveillance, the government needs to affirm or deny,” Mr. Lefcourt said.

Among the allegations in the indictment, the four men are accused of making illegal campaign contributions to help get licenses for recreational marijuana businesses in the United States. An unnamed Russian citizen gave $1 million to support the venture, which ultimately failed, according to the indictment.

William K. Rashbaum contributed to this article.