An ex-associate of Rudy Giuliani’s who was convicted of helping funnel money from a Russian oligarch toward a bid to open a cannabis business will be able to enjoy the leafy plant while on probation following a stint in federal prison, a judge decided Monday.
Manhattan federal Judge Paul Oetken granted Lev Parnas’ blunt request that he be allowed to use pot for medical reasons while he’s on a three-year supervised release term.
Parnas, 51, made the request less than a week after he was sprung from federal custody following his conviction for his part in a conspiracy to illegally steer money from Russian businessmen into political campaigns in states where he and others wanted to open recreational marijuana businesses.
In a letter to the court filed hours before the judge issued his decision Monday, Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph Bondy, explained that the Soviet-born ex-Giuliani associate is “a long-standing registered medical cannabis patient in the state of Florida.”
Bondy added that Parnas was given the same leeway to toke up when he was out on bail before his Oct. 2021 conviction.
Neither the probation department nor the US Attorney’s office objected to Parnas’ request, Bondy’s letter said.
Parnas was sentenced to serve 20 months behind bars in June 2020 and was released on Sept. 5 after he was sent to an upstate medium-security lockup in Otisville, New York, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.
“Yesterday I was released from BOP custody after finishing serving my sentence,” Parnas wrote last week on X — formally known as Twitter. ” It’s been a long 4 years since my arrest on October 10, 2019.”
“This ordeal has been very difficult on my wife and kids,” the post continued. “We are ready for our new chapter in life. Thank you everyone for supporting me in my mission to get the truth out!”
Federal prison officials confirmed that Parnas was released from the federal lockup on Feb. 28 to a community confinement program in Miami.
They did not specify whether Parnas had been living in a halfway house or in home confinement after his release from Otisville.
Manhattan federal prosecutors have said that Parnas — who connected Giuliani with Ukraine contacts to help dig up dirt on Hunter Biden — ran two schemes.
First, he and co-conspirators Igor Fruman, Andrey Kukushkin and Andrey Muraviev allegedly cooked up a plan to start a business acquiring retail pot licenses. They then attempted to curry favor with political candidates by illegally donating to their campaigns in the November 2018 election in hopes they could help them get the licenses.
The $1 million in donation funds came from Muraviev, a Russian oligarch, who tried to hide that he was the true source of the money.
Parnas only managed to donate $100,000 of the illegal campaign cash, prosecutors said.
In the second scheme, which Parnas pleaded guilty to in March 2022, he and David Corriea conned wealthy investor friends out of $2 million to live large, including taking private jets and staying in fancy hotels.
Parnas has been ordered to pay $2.3 million in restitution to the people he defrauded.
All the co-defendants, except for Muraviev who remains at large, were sentenced to just over a year in prison.
Parnas cooperated with the first congressional impeachment investigation of former President Donald Trump.
He also bashed his one-time pal Giuliani after his sentencing, telling reporters: “I will continue to get the truth out. There’s a lot more that needs to get out about Rudy Giuliani, President — the ex-president, the former guy Trump, and everything that they did.”
Giuliani — the former mayor of New York City — has since been brought up on criminal charges alongside Trump and 17 others for alleged interference in the Georgia 2020 election.
Parnas’ lawyer didn’t comment Monday.