US District Judge Paul Oetken said it was a “serious offense” and punishment was necessary.
“Our democracy is fragile and it depends on people believing in it,” Oetken said.
The sentence was less than what federal prosecutors argued was an appropriate sentence for Fruman’s “central role” in the scheme. Prosecutor Hagan Scotten asked the judge to sentence Fruman within the sentencing guidelines range of 37 to 46 months, citing the “grave damage” his actions caused to the public’s confidence in a fair electoral system.
Prosecutors also sought a fine ranging between $15,000 and $150,000.
In statement read in court, Fruman said, “For the last 835 days I had a chance to reflect on my actions that have put me before you. It’s a shame that will live with me forever, but I can assure you, my family, and the government that I will never appear before yourself or another courtroom again.” He finished by thanking Oetken, and he was accompanied by his four children and exited the courtroom with his arm around his young daughter.
Todd Blanche, a lawyer for Fruman, said in a statement that his client “is relieved that he can now put the past few years behind him and get back to working and supporting his family in the country that he loves.”
Before Friday’s sentencing, Fruman’s attorneys had tried to distinguish his case from other efforts to influence election outcomes.
“This is not a case where Mr. Fruman embarked on an effort to influence the outcome of American elections using foreign money,” they wrote in a court filing. “Mr. Fruman solicited money from a foreign national to start a venture that included a business strategy of supporting politicians to gain visibility. While this solicitation is something that Mr. Fruman should not have done, it is distinguishable from solicitation cases where the primary goal of the defendant is to influence elections using foreign money.”
This story has been updated with additional information Friday.