Federal investigation of Rudy Giuliani includes counterintelligence probe

Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani reacting to a crowd booing him in New York City

Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani reacts to a crowd booing him in New York City

Two out of four defendants in the Rudy Giuliani-linked alleged campaign finance scheme were arraigned in Manhattan federal court today.

Correia, from Palm Beach Gardens, and Kukushkin, from California, were charged last week in the Southern District of NY along with Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas in a grand jury indictment alleging that the four men conspired to purchase political influence by contributing illegal money to politicians running for office in Washington and around the country.

The businessman, Lev Parnas, is a close associate of Giuliani and was involved in his effort to investigate Trump's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, who is a leading contender for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination.

Additionally, Parnas and Fruman allegedly made a series of illegal straw donations that included a $325,000 donation to the pro-Trump Super PAC America First Action, and prosecutors allege that the two violated the law by falsely reporting the origin of those funds as under the name of their newly-created company Global Energy Producers.

The Associated Press reported last week that Sessions fits the description in the indictment of a congressman who prosecutors allege was part of a co-ordinated effort to remove the USA ambassador to Ukraine.

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That political committee - America First Action - hosted an event that Fruman, Parnas, and Correia attended.

John Dowd, a lawyer for Parnas and Fruman, also would not discuss the source of the funding that Giuliani said he received for his work for Fraud Guarantee. The company was created by Giuliani's associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, to support a recreational marijuana business venture, according to the 21-page indictment filed in the Southern District of NY.

Attorneys for Correia and Kukushkin declined to comment at their initial court appearances.

This Facebook screen shot provided by The Campaign Legal Center, shows from left, Donald Trump, Jr., Tommy Hicks, Jr., Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, posted on May 21, 2018. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rebekah Donaleski and Nicolas Roos represented the government at the hearing.

Andrey Kukushkin, second from left, and David Correia, far right, appear at a court hearing for conspiracy charges Thursday in NY. Pete Sessions in a 2018 photo taken inside the Texas Republican's Capitol Hill office that Parnas posted on social media with the caption "Hard at work!"

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Sessions has since been subpoenaed as part of the Southern District's probe and he told ABC News that he is fully cooperating with investigators.

Mr Parnas and Mr Fruman were arrested at Dulles Airport outside Washington last week on charges of funnelling foreign money to unnamed US politicians in a bid to influence US-Ukraine ties, in violation of US campaign finance laws. It was later reported that the men had dined with Giuliani in the Trump International Hotel in Washington a few hours before their flight.

In an interview with the Herald, Dianne and Michael Pues, a New Jersey couple who say they are owed $500,000 after they invested in a failed movie venture by Parnas, allege that Correia once called them, issuing a veiled threat on behalf of his partner.

As of Wednesday evening, Fruman had met the bond requirements and was no longer in the custody of the Alexandria, Virginia, jail.

Kukushkin was arrested last week.

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Next court date for Correia and Kukushkin has been set for December 2.

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