Attorney Todd Blanche, who represents one of Rudy Guliani’s Ukraine guys, appears to have adopted Giuliani’s bizarre defense style. It’s not working for him.
Blanche told a judge last week it was “completely false” that Giuliani’s indicted associate Igor Fruman was fleeing the country at the time of his arrest but “absolutely true” his client had a one-way ticket to Ukraine.
The lawyer was attempting to convince a judge that his client is not a flight risk, and that Fruman’s bail conditions should be relaxed.
The amusing exchange was chronicled by BuzzFeed News’s Ema Connor:
“Just leaving a hearing for Fruman, one of Guliani’s Ukraine guys. His lawyer was requesting modifications to his bail agreement, which has him on house arrest w a GPS tracker and a $1 million bond. His lawyer tried to argue that Fruman was not a flight risk. It did not go well…
Lawyer: The allegations that, when Fruman was arrested on the beltway at Dulles airport w a one-way ticket to Vienna, he was “fleeing the country, are completely false. There is zero evidence.”
Judge: False he had a one-way ticket?
Lawyer: “No that is absolutely true.”
Now, if this is making your head spin, Todd Blanche (who also represents Paul Manafort) offered an explanation that the government quickly shot down as implausible.
Blanche reportedly argued that “it was cheaper to get a one-way ticket […] $8k vs. $20k,” adding that Fruman books his flights this way normally.
The government shot back that Fruman was subpoenaed by Congress on Oct. 7, booked a one-way flight to Vienna, Austria on the next day, and was arrested “on the jetway” the day after that.
Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-Floridian co-founder of the company Fraud Guarantee (a company the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he was paid $500,000 to advise), was arrested on Oct. 9, along with Fruman. The two were instrumental in Giuliani’s efforts to convince the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden.
Their arrests occurred at Dulles Airport in Virginia, from where they were attempting to leave the U.S. via a one-way ticket, Fruman’s attorney now confirms. The Southern District of New York (SDNY) charged Fruman and Parnas for alleged campaign finance violations (two counts of conspiracy, one count of making false statements, and one count of falsification of records).
Giuliani, for his part, is now a subject in the ongoing criminal investigation.