A lawyer for Lev Parnas, the indicted Rudy Giuliani associate, posted a picture Friday of his client with Pam Bondi not long after the former Florida attorney general joined President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team.
The picture, blasted out on Twitter, shows Parnas and Bondi with their arms around each other and seated at a table. There’s no additional information on when the photo was snapped or where, but it’s the third instance of the two appearing together.
Parnas’ lawyer, Joseph Bondy, did not respond to a request for comment from the Tampa Bay Times. The post included the hashtags #LetLevSpeak and #TheyAllKnew.
Bondy’s tweet was in response to another photo of Parnas and Bondi, this one posted by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. After multiple news outlets reported Bondi was named to Trump’s legal team, Maddow tweeted, “This Pam Bondi?” and a pic of Parnas and Bondi alongside Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis. That picture was first unearthed by the Wall Street Journal in December.
Bondi and the White House did not respond to a request for comment.
The new additions to Trump’s legal team will also include former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, according to the Associated Press. The lead roles for Trump’s defense will be played by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow.
Bondi recently left Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm that did business with Parnas and has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in New York.
In notes turned over to the House Intelligence Committee, Parnas scribbled “Brian Ballard,” the founder of Ballard Partners, on a sheet of paper.
Parnas, a Ukrainian-born South Florida businessman, is an increasingly critical character in the Trump impeachment proceedings. He was arrested in October at a Virginia airport on charges related to the ousting of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
New details have also emerged about Parnas’ role in the pressure campaign to get Ukraine to investigate gas company Burisma and Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden. Parnas has turned over to prosecutors new documents linking the president to the shadow foreign policy being run by Giuliani.
Those developments applied fresh pressure to senators to call more witnesses for the trial, a main source of contention that is still to be resolved. The White House has instructed officials not to comply with subpoenas from Congress requesting witnesses or other information.
In interviews this week, Parnas said Trump knew about efforts to coerce the Ukrainian president in exchange for military aid and other diplomatic offerings.
The photos with Bondi are similar to dozens of other pictures Parnas snapped at Republican events in recent years. Parnas penetrated the world of GOP politics in Florida by contributing to candidates and campaigns, including U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast and Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Parnas and his partner Igor Fruman donated $50,000 to DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign through their company Global Energy Producers. Later, Parnas and Fruman appeared at last-minute campaign events for DeSantis, along with Bondi and Giuliani. They attended DeSantis’ victory party on election night and were VIPs at his inauguration.
The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Parnas turned over text messages with DeSantis as evidence in the House impeachment trial.
DeSantis, who disgorged the donation, has declined to answer any more questions about his relationship with Parnas.
In addition to Bondi, other members of Trump’s legal defense include Jane Raskin, who was part of the president’s legal team during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and Robert Ray, who was part of the the Whitewater investigation of the Clintons.
Trump was impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rivals as he was withholding security aid, and obstructing the ensuing congressional probe.
The U.S. Senate opened the trial on Thursday and senators were sworn in as jurors. The trial resumes Tuesday.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.