legal affairs
January 20, 2020

An attorney for Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr on Monday, requesting the he recuse himself from Parnas' criminal case.

Parnas was arrested last October and charged with campaign finance violations. In the letter, which was also filed in New York federal court, attorney Joseph Bondy said Barr has a conflict of interest and asked that a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department handle Parnas' case. "Federal ethics guidelines bar federal employees from participating in matters in which their impartiality could be questioned, including matters in which they were personally involved or about which they have personal knowledge," Bondy wrote.

Bondy cited several reasons why Barr should recuse himself, noting that the reconstructed transcript released by the White House of President Trump's July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump telling Zelensky that Barr could help him facilitate an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden. Last week, Parnas told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow that Barr knew about efforts in the Ukraine to dig up dirt on Biden, saying, "Attorney General Barr was basically on the team." Read Bondy's letter here. Catherine Garcia

August 10, 2017

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, is in the process of switching attorneys, his spokesman confirmed Thursday.

The spokesman, Jason Maloni, said in a statement that Manafort is "retaining his former counsel, Miller & Chevalier, to represent him in the office of special counsel investigation. As of today, WilmerHale no longer represents Mr. Manafort." Miller & Chevalier is a boutique firm in Washington that specializes in "complicated financial crimes and other issues," people with knowledge of the change told Politico. They also said that one of the new attorneys is Kevin Downing, a former senior Justice Department official.

Manafort is entangled in several investigations into the Trump campaign possibly colluding with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election, but Special Counsel Robert Mueller has also been looking into Manafort's finances and consulting work. Last month, Manafort's home in Virginia was raided by the FBI, and several of his financial institutions have been subpoenaed, Bloomberg reported. Catherine Garcia

January 12, 2015

New York Times reporter James Risen will not be called to testify at the trial of a former CIA officer charged with giving him details about a failed operation in Iran.

Jeffrey Sterling stands accused of passing Risen information about a plan to disrupt Iran's nuclear program, The Times reports, information that prosecutors say Risen shared in his 2006 book State of War. In a hearing last week, Risen said that he had multiple sources and would not name any of them.

Risen was first subpoenaed by the Justice Department in 2008 under the Bush administration, and then again in 2011. The executive editor of The Times, Dean Baquet, is happy with the outcome. "I'm glad the government realizes that Jim Risen was an aggressive reporter doing his job and that he should not be forced to reveal his source," he said in a statement. Catherine Garcia

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