NEW YORK (AP) -- An associate of Rudy Giuliani charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. political campaigns has asked Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself in the case and appoint a special prosecutor.
The request is made in a letter filed Monday in the docket of the federal campaign finance violation case brought by New York prosecutors against Lev Parnas. The letter signed by defense lawyer Joseph Bondy came a day before the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump was scheduled to start.
Parnas is charged along with an associate, Igor Fruman, with making illegal campaign contributions in order to further their business interests and political goals that included a campaign to get the U.S. to replace its ambassador to Ukraine. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Two other men are also charged in a part of the case having to do with attempts to get approval in several states for a fledgling marijuana business.
Both Parnas and Fruman were deeply involved in helping Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer and former New York City mayor, try to persuade Ukrainian officials to launch an investigation of the business dealings of Joe Biden's son.
In recent weeks, Parnas has been giving Congressional Democrats documents and electronic correspondence related to that pressure as part of the impeachment inquiry.
Barr's Justice Department brought the charges against Parnas, but the case is being overseen by the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman.
The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on Bondy's letter Monday.