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Lev Parnas asks Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from investigation

Lev Parnas, who has been indicted on multiple federal charges, asked Attorney General William Barr to recuse himself from the investigation into Parnas' prosecution, claiming Barr may have a potential conflict of interest. CNN's Alex Marquardt reports.

Posted: Jan 21, 2020 3:50 AM
Updated: Jan 21, 2020 3:50 AM

An attorney for indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas on Monday filed a request for the recusal of Attorney General William Barr in connection with the prosecution of Parnas, alleging Barr has a conflict of interest and should be removed from the matter "in an effort to preserve the public trust in the rule of law."

In a letter sent to Barr and filed in New York federal court, where Parnas is facing trial for allegedly violating campaign finance laws, Parnas's attorney said Barr's involvement in the case has resulted in both harmful perceptions and "actual harm to Mr. Parnas."

RELATED: From pot to impeachment: The high-wire legal act from Lev Parnas' attorney

The attorney, Joseph Bondy, asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor from outside the Justice Department to oversee the case.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

The "actual harm" Bondy cited in the letter is what he describes as a delay in the production of discovery material in the Parnas prosecution, which Bondy says left his client unable to turn over documents in a timely manner to comply with a subpoena issued by the House of Representatives as part of its impeachment inquiry, and thus meant Parnas couldn't be properly assessed as a potential witness.

Bondy doesn't specify how Barr's purported conflict of interest might have contributed to any delay in discovery.

Bondy also suggests Barr's oversight of the case is linked to what Bondy describes as the refusal by New York federal prosecutors to meet with his client, who Bondy says is willing to disclose information on President Donald Trump, Giuliani and lawyers Victoria Toensing and Joseph DiGenova, among others.

A spokesman for the Manhattan US Attorney's office, which is prosecuting Parnas, declined to comment.

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