Was Lev Parnas a businessman who cared about energy independence and marijuana legalization? Or a conniver who flouted campaign finance laws?
Published Oct. 13, 2021 Updated Oct. 15, 2021
For years, the U.S. government described Lev Parnas as a corrupt businessman who had violated campaign finance laws and tried to influence political candidates, all as part of a scheme to benefit an energy company and a cannabis venture.
But as Mr. Parnas’s trial began on Wednesday, his lawyer described his client as an altruist who wanted to help wean European countries from dependence on Russian energy and hoped to convince Republican leaders that marijuana should be legalized.