Rudy Giuliani Associate Igor Fruman Pleads Guilty to Brokering Illegal Campaign Donations

An associate of Rudy Giuliani, who captured the public's attention for assisting Giuliani in trying to uncover damaging information on Joe Biden in Ukraine, pleaded guilty Friday to helping facilitate illegal foreign campaign contributions to build a marijuana business in the U.S., the Associated Press reported.

Igor Fruman, 56, reached a deal with prosecutors and subsequently entered the plea in a Manhattan federal court. U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken said Fruman does not have to cooperate in other cases.

"Mr. Fruman is not cooperating with the government and has determined that this is the fairest and best way to put the past two years of his life behind him," Fruman's lawyer, Todd Blanche, said in a written statement following the plea hearing. "He intends to continue to work hard, as he has his entire life, and raise his family in this country that he loves. We will not have any further public communications."

Fruman, who was initially charged in a wide-ranging indictment, pleaded guilty to a single count of solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national. Prosecutors did not identify the foreign national in court.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Igor Fruman Indictment
Igor Fruman, a businessman who helped Rudy Giuliani in his effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine, pleaded guilty in a case involving allegations of illegal campaign contributions on Friday. Pictured, an activist with Rise and Resist follow Igor Fruman, right, as he arrives in Federal court in Manhattan with his attorney Todd Blanche, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021 in New York. Mary Altaffer/AP Photo

Federal sentencing guidelines call for a punishment of 37 to 46 months in prison, though Fruman could get up to five years, the judge said. Sentencing is scheduled for January 21.

The plea leaves two men — including Lev Parnas, another Soviet-born Florida businessman and Giuliani associate — to face trial next month.

Fruman was also charged with, but did not plead guilty to, arranging hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal donations to Republicans and political action committees while trying to get Americans interested in investigating Biden's son in Ukraine during the Democrat's successful run for president.

Fruman apologized in court. He said he was not aware of laws prohibiting foreign campaign contributions at the time he engaged in the donation scheme.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roos said in court Friday that Fruman sent text messages to the foreign national and that person's agent seeking $1 million in political contributions and that the foreign national wired two $500,000 installments for that purpose.

In court Friday, Fruman said the donation scheme was part of an effort to encourage support for a fledgling marijuana distribution business that he and others were starting in states where the drug was being legalized.

Giuliani, 77, has said he had no knowledge of illegal campaign contributions but has acknowledged working extensively with Fruman and Parnas as he sought communications with Ukrainian figures.

The Republican and former New York City mayor who once gained worldwide respect and admiration as "America's Mayor" after the September 11 attacks, was not charged in this case. But Giuliani has been under criminal investigation for his dealings with Ukraine while serving as a personal lawyer to then-President Donald Trump.

In April, federal agents raided his Manhattan home and office and seized computers and cellphones, signaling a major escalation of the investigation. Authorities are deciding whether Giuliani's activities required him to register as a foreign agent.

Giuliani has insisted his Ukrainian activities were conducted on behalf of Trump, not a foreign entity or person.

Trump's efforts to press Ukraine for an investigation of the Bidens led the House to impeach the then-president, though he was acquitted by the Senate.