Parnas can attend Trump's impeachment trial, but judge won't let him take off ankle monitor

Unless the Senate alters its rules, Lev Parnas' GPS device will probably make his attendance in the Senate Gallery impossible.
Image: Lev Parnas arrives at federal court for an arraignment hearing in New York on Oct. 23, 2019.
Lev Parnas arrived at federal court in New York for an arraignment hearing on Oct. 23, 2019.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

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By Tom Winter

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Lev Parnas, one of Rudy Giuliani's indicted associates, can attend President Donald Trump's impeachment trial — but he won't be able to take off his ankle monitor, so he most likely won't be permitted on the Senate floor.

Attorney Joseph Bondy asked U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken of New York for a modification to Parnas' bail conditions, including the removal of his GPS monitoring device, because it wouldn't be permitted in the Senate Gallery. The proposal was for Parnas to travel from New York to Washington on Wednesday and attend the trial from 12:30 to 2:45 p.m.

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Bondy said the office of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., notified him that ticket requests for Bondy and Parnas to attend had been granted.

The plan was then for Parnas to travel back to New York after the proceeding and have his GPS device replaced. Bondy said that prosecutors didn't object to Parnas' attending the trial but that they didn't want his GPS device removed.

The judge agreed to allow Parnas to attend, but he sided with prosecutors in not permitting him to remove the monitor. Unless the Senate alters its rules, the GPS device will likely make his attendance in the Senate Gallery impossible.

Bondy confirmed on Twitter that Parnas will be in Washington for the impeachment trial on Wednesday, regardless of whether he's allowed in the Senate.

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Parnas is indicted on campaign finance charges and has been implicated in an alleged attempt to pressure the Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. He's since given interviews saying "President Trump knew exactly what was going on" in regard to the alleged Ukraine scheme, which is at the center of Trump's impeachment.