The Tampa Bay Times reports:
The pictures show Ron DeSantis leaning in to hug a heavy-set, middle-aged man amid a sea of onlookers. DeSantis then turns to another man, who wraps his arms around the newly-elected governor at his victory celebration in Orlando.
The two men embraced by DeSantis in these previously unpublished pictures? Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, the Soviet-born businessmen and Rudy Giuliani associates indicted on charges of interfering in U.S. elections. Obscure until this month, Fruman and Parnas have become major figures in the drama behind the drive to impeach President Donald Trump.
When it was first learned the duo had contributed $50,000 to DeSantis’ campaign last year, the governor’s spokeswoman described Fruman and Parnas as donors who DeSantis didn’t know well — or at all. The saga may have faded without a word from DeSantis, just like other times that questions about his fundraising threatened his political ascent.
BREAKING: We found more photos of Ron DeSantis on election night with the two arrested Giuliani associates. This time, they’re hugging.
— Steve Contorno (@scontorno) October 18, 2019
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has tried to downplay his ties to Giuliani associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, but the Tampa Bay Times has pictures of DeSantis hugging the men.https://t.co/i0rVbeMeRe
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 19, 2019