In March 2013, the same month Mr. Friedman’s parents and sister came to Italy for his marriage to Gabriella Carignani, the descendant of a noble Tuscan family, Mr. Friedman helped arrange a lobbying trip to Washington for Mr. Prodi.
In February 2014, he wrote to Mr. Prodi asking him to “please review” an opinion piece for submission to The New York Times that would appear under Mr. Prodi’s name. The article argued that Mr. Yanukovych could bring Ukraine back from the brink of collapse and that European leaders should not threaten sanctions against him or the nation.
Mr. Friedman then wrote Mr. Gates, in an email now filed as Exhibit K in the government’s case, that Mr. Prodi had requested to make a change in “the very last sentence.” Weeks later, opinion page editors at The Times wrote a representative of Mr. Prodi that in order to publish the piece, they needed evidence for some of Mr. Prodi’s assertions.
The Times Op-Ed page said that Mr. Prodi’s representative, redacted in the court documents, was Glenn Selig, the president of Selig Multimedia. In 2017, Mr. Selig became a spokesman for Mr. Gates. And in January of this year, he was killed in a terrorist attack on a hotel in Kabul, where his colleagues told The Tampa Bay Times he was working on a potential counterextremism project for a government agency.
The paper’s requests to Mr. Selig made their way to Mr. Gates, who then wrote Mr. Friedman that he had addressed the concerns, but that Mr. Friedman should “make any changes you deem necessary.” He added, “No pride of authorship here.”
In a recent interview, Mr. Prodi said, “I wrote the article,” and added of Mr. Friedman, “Maybe we exchanged some language, but the article is mine.”
Mr. Prodi said he received payment for his advocacy through Mr. Gusenbauer, and assumed the project was funded by European businessmen, not Ukraine. He said he had no official relationship with Mr. Friedman and was sure “I didn’t receive one dollar by Alan Friedman.”
Orignially published in NYT.