Rudy’s Other Grifter Prepares to Plead Guilty

Earlier this month, I described how the government was sharing a bunch of evidence with Lev Parnas and his co-defendants. Most of it, the government explained, didn’t pertain to the trial due to start in October.

That suggested the government was showing Parnas and Igor Fruman what further legal jeopardy they faced in an effort to get them to flip.

[A] substantial amount of what the government is sharing is discovery on the additional charges Fruman and especially Parnas face, after they’re done with October’s trial and even after Parnas is done with a second, Fraud Guarantee trial. The government is effectively showing Rudy’s grifters what they have to look forward to in a Foreign Agent case involving Rudy Giuliani.

This is, almost certainly, an effort to convince them to plead guilty and flip on Rudy, which explains why the government is so intent on keeping the trial scheduled for October, to increase the pressure on the grifters.

Today, Fruman filed a change of plea notice. He’ll plead guilty on Wednesday.

While that doesn’t guarantee he’ll flip and cooperate against whatever defendants remain, he’ll get the most benefit at sentencing if he does.

That cooperation would presumably include, at a minimum, Rudy Giuliani for his efforts to get Marie Yovanovitch fired, an effort that led to impeachment in 2019.

49 replies
  1. Joseph Andrews says:

    I sort of can’t believe I’m saying/thinking/typing this right now…but what I’m beginning to feel is that at least for Guiliani and these two guys…I don’t care so much about prosecuting/convicting them, as opposed to once-and-for-all…REALLY finding out what happened in their dealings with all things Trump.

    In other words: not punishment nor retribution.

    Just information.

    Somehow someway information…real information…for the historians to analyze. Quickly.

    My wife and I have two wonderful daughters. I fear for their future, and I fear for the future of the United States.

    If you lived where I live (a relative small Blue university-town enclave in the middle of a giant Red area (where shoppers at the local Wal-Mart PROUDLY refuse to wear masks), you would know what I’m talking about.

    • Wajim says:

      Oh, I do indeed know. Same demographic boat. Eastern WA, along the Idaho border. My tiny 4 year liberal arts college employer has been banned from vaccine and mask mandates by the ID Governor; Our local Wal-Mart shut down for two days last week for “sanitizing” after an employee outbreak of Covid.

    • BobCon says:

      I’m all for trading leniency in exchange for cooperation — maybe not total exoneration, but certainly a considerable amount of relief.

      But one angle I’d really like to get clarified (which probably won’t happen for a variety of reasons) is what was going on with Trump’s maneuvers to frame Biden and the mainstream press?

      Why was Ken Vogel so eager to mainline apparent Russian disinformation on Ukraine into coverage of the 2020 election, and perhaps even more alarming, why were his editors at the NY Times so willing to go along? Who else might have been pushing for a 2020 version of the 2016 email nonsense?

      To be clear, it would be completely inappropriate for prosecutors to make the press a focus of fallout from a prosecution of Giuliani et al. The First Amendment has to provide a lot of insulation for even biased, rotten reporters.

      But I wouldn’t cry if revelations from prosecutions managed to expose along the way how much the US press offered themselves over to Giuliani and his Russian accomplices, and ignored the obvious warning signs that they were crossing the line.

      The recent swamp of Afghanistan coverage, especially in contrast to the failures of press coverage over the past 20 years, makes it clear that the national press, especially when it comes to political coverage, is a giant hot mess. It would be wrong for prosecutors to use the Parnas case as an excuse to harass or investigate the NY Times, NBC, or anyone else in the mainstream press who was too credulous.

      But if revelations came out from the Fraud Guarantee gang that led to some serious soul searching at the press about their transparent double standards? I can dream, at least, even if the odds are 100-1 against.

        • BobCon says:

          I don’t think the intended collaborators in the Ukraine conspiracy theories mirror the oligarch dynamics on the Russian side.

          The whole point of the Giuliani scheme was not to come up with red meat solely for the Fox News group which would ultimately be vetted by the Murdochs. The scheme was to mainstream the conspiracy theories with reporters like Vogel who could be counted on “just asking questions” about Biden.

          The weakness that the Russians have exploited is a long running institutional bias in the US political press that parallels the problems on the national security side of the press, in part due to a lot of overlapping between desks at major outlets.

          One person ultimately calls the shots on one side, but a pervasive herd mentality is the rule on our side.

          And both types of reporters share a lot of deep biases and assumptions, such as which political party is “tough” and which one is divided, inherent “problems” in democracy versus authoritarian power that lead them to embrace the Cheneyists and doubt negotiations, and refusal to treat the GOP as bad faith actors.

      • dadidoc1 says:

        I wonder how many members of our intelligence community are embedded into our print and broadcast media. Not pleasant to consider.

        • BobCon says:

          The issue isn’t that they’re embedded inside the media so much as the press is openly giving them free access.

          When the press is giving people like John Bolton and Ryan Crocker the ability to appear as unquestioned experts on Afghanistan and leaving out long time critics of the occupation, there isn’t a real need to do any embedding.

          • JVO says:

            Agree that press is irresponsible – but so are people who don’t find better sources of info or who accept what the press says at face value without verifying themself. e.g., GOP says sky is generally green. Democrats say it is generally blue. PRESS (instead of looking at sky and seeing it is in fact generally blue and Dems are correct) reports that GOP and Dems can’t agree on color of sky so, in fact, the sky is falling. Click here for more details.

  2. Wajim says:

    Love to see Rudy in the federal tank for awhile; he thoroughly deserves it, if only for the “Stop the Steal” grifting, damage to our democracy, etc. Then he can start working off the Dominion judgement, or at least his legal bills, until he dies. That Cameo gig won’t be nearly enough

    • Joseph Andrews says:

      Has any American (EVER?!) abused the privilege of being an American…and American in a privileged leadership position…ABUSED that privilege (elected mayor of NYC) more than Rudy Guiliani?

      In my humble opinion, he is an embarrassment.

      My oh my the rise and fall of Rudy. I presume there are biographies of Rudy that I haven’t read…but when I think of Rudy and his activities…I have a hard time NOT thinking of the term “American Exceptionalism”.

      My oh my…(and I’m aware that this says more about me than I care to admit))…when I think of the phrase “American Expectionalism” I think of Sarah Palin.

      Someone reading this help me…because I think we’re screwed.

      I’m more-or-less serious.

      But I want Rudy to talk more than I want to see him behind bars.

      • ernesto1581 says:

        “My oh my the rise and fall of Rudy.”

        Regarding the life and times of America’s Mayor, there is nothing new under the sun, only more of it. Wayne Barret’s bio is a good place to start, if you haven’t already seen it. Andrew Kirtzman has a second Rudy bio coming out momentarily, according to Kirkus Reviews. Kirtzman’s first, twenty years ago, was subtitled, “Emperor of the City.”
        Jimmy Breslin had some choice anecdotes, putdowns and execrations of Hizzoner over the years but you’ll have to go a-digging through Newsday and NYDaily News archives for them.

        Incidentally, the lovely quote I misappropriated above (“There is nothing new…”) came originally from the sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.

        wish I knew how to use italics on this site…

        • John Paul Jones says:

          “Nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes, 1:9 –

          “What has been is what will be,
          and what has been done is what will be done;
          there is nothing new under the sun.”

          • ernesto1581 says:

            The important tag-end of the trope by Lipchitz is “…only more of it.” Which, coming from from an artist of his stature (he was one of the early 20th century giants), is an expression of supreme delight and confidence.
            “The world just keeps turning. I’ll be out in my studio if you want me.”

            Eccles. was quite the mordant jokester, kind of like the Oscar Levant of the Ketuvim.

            well, that was certainly off-topic…

    • Raven Eye says:

      My fantasy is Rudy getting a stretch in some federal institution and qualifying for a spot in a federal prison work program…And it turns out that he’s spending his days packing little boxes with voting machine components for a contract with Dominion.

    • Alan Charbonneau says:

      Speaking of that Cameo gig, I’d like to see the Lincoln Project get a Rudy greeting video and make a commercial with it. 😁

  3. Randy Baker says:

    History is important. What is even more important is that Trump be vigorously prosecuted for his numerous, nearly successful, efforts to end American democracy, such as it is. To that end, I much hope that SDNY is not merely trying to induce Parnas and/or Fruman to turn on Guiliani, who relatively speaking is unimportant, but to induce all of them to turn on the would be dictator himself.

    • Leoghann says:

      Yeah, I’m way tired of “this is unprecedented” being used as an excuse for inaction, or for advocating inaction.

  4. mary says:

    Just remember:Rudi can never be expected to tell the truth. Even if he could recognize it, he will just say what will help him, at the moment.

    • bmaz says:

      Hi, and welcome to Emptywheel. Please join us often. But please find a way to differentiate your screen name. We had a long time and much beloved contributor here named “Mary”. She is now deceased, but that name is hers here in perpetuity. However you choose to so differentiate is great, and thank you.

  5. Molly Pitcher says:

    Gee, maybe this is why there are pictures all over Instagram of Rudy using an electric razor to shave while sitting at a table in an airport restaurant at JFK ? Gotta look good for the cameras.

    • LaMissy says:

      Thoroughly, completely gross. Anyone would lose their appetite. Why not use the bathroom, like a normal human? (Iknow, I know.) Kate McKinnon as a bat would run with this.

  6. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    Every time I see the picture of those 3 clowns sitting together, I try to imagine where they were and what they were doing when it was taken…

    I finally decided they had to be in someone’s waiting room… being eyeballed by a severe, openly disdainful receptionist… the intercom on her desk buzzes… she listens to the speaker, then turning to the ‘three amigos’, she cracks an icy smile and says ‘He’ll see you now’…

    And behind her, a massive door slowly swings open, revealing none other than Satan, on his throne…

    • vvv says:

      To me it appears to be a medical office waiting room (eg., generic picture, brochures on the table), where they anticipate the results of their STD tests.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        I dunno…

        I can imagine Satan wouldn’t be too big on decor either, for that matter… cheap, tacky… kind of a retro-Motel 6 look…

        Care to hazard a guess as to which one’s the father?

    • skua says:

      Satan’s waiting room features:
      A framed b&w photo of an aircraft with prominent wingtips. There is a light patch over the left wing that I think is a reflection off the frame’s glass.
      To the right is a wall mounted mobile phone charging station.
      To the left are cutoff views of 3 (?) brouchures; the visible lettering of topmost is “UB”, middle one “ller”(?), bottom “OLLER”* (?), with the rear of a larger rear engine jet visible in the lowest.
      Igor wears a black (satin ?) tie which violates modern western fashion sensibilities, while Lev’s watch reads 8:43. Igor and Lev both sport non-obvious lapel pins.
      They would fit the stereotype of a budget-priced landmine sales team.

      * google suggests no -“oller” aviation company.

      • Raven Eye says:

        The pubs in the magazine holder are, from the bottom up:
        — “Executive Controller” (banner) above a flood-lit biz jet and a stylized “AVPRO” on the bottom.
        — Illustration of a low-wing general aviation airplane followed by “Controller”.
        — “…CHARTER HUB”

        Executive Controller is a magazine listing of executive aircraft or shares for sale — everything from Pilatus up to a 747-SP. Shown is the September 4, 2020 edition. Controller is a listing service for a broad range of personal, general, utility, etc. aircraft. is a destination site for travelers and air charter services. They have a digital edition that was published in the same time frame.

        Looks like the Three Amigos were going on a trip?

  7. Leoghann says:

    I must be confused. I thought Parnas had already agreed to plead guilty, and turned over a good bit of evidence just prior to Impeachment #1. Obviously, if this were the case, Fruman wouldn’t have much leverage from a guilty plea at this point. But what, exactly, did Parnas do back in December 2019?

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The AP story on Fruman’s probable guilty plea, published in the Guardian, starts off on the wrong foot. Its opening sentence claims that Fruman – whom it doesn’t name until the second paragraph – tried to help Rudy G “unearth damaging information about Joe Biden in Ukraine.”

    The use of “unearth” implies that damaging information existed. That it didn’t – but that Fruman, Trump, and associates wanted to created the impression that it did – is a big part of the story. The AP omits it. But it does end with the usual disclaimer from Rudy that he denies doing anything wrong and that the investigation is “politically motivated.”

    • Rugger9 says:

      Lazy bothsidesism combined with poor vocabulary, IMHO. I would grade student papers where to avoid the plagiarism software they would engage in “thesaurus mining” which was occasionally hilarious. English has a lot of nuance involved in word choice (as Rush said, “Words mean things”) but I suspect the reporters and editors thought that “unearth” only meant to dig around, not that there was something expected to be found from that digging.

      As Inigo says: “that word [inconceivable] does not mean what you think it does”.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Unearth means, variously: to discover, dig up, uncover or find; to bring out from concealment. All of which assume there is something to be found with enough diligence.

        Not a word found on the tip of the tongue, outside of archeological digs and investigative journalism – neither of which the AP is known for. It chose the word intentionally.

  9. Molly Pitcher says:

    Joyce Vance and MSNBC just said that Fruman’s court date had been changed to September 10 for the plea change. But Vance sad that the court filings gave no indication regarding cooperation.

  10. TooLoose LeTruck says:

    ‘Rudy’s other grifter…’

    Gawd, what a sad ephitet to be remembered by…

    Richly deserved… and still sad…

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