NY Judge Tosses Paul Manafort State Fraud Case, Citing Double Jeopardy, Setting Up Potential Federal Pardon
Manafort attorney: “We have said since the day this indictment was made public that it was politically motivated and violated New York’s statutory double jeopardy law.”
Here at LI, we have covered extensively President Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort. Manafort, who is serving time in federal prison after being indicted by Robert Mueller, was also charged by New York state in an apparent effort to block a possible Trump pardon.
The effort has, so far, failed as a NY judge has tossed out the case, citing double jeopardy.
A New York judge has dismissed a state mortgage fraud indictment against Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, citing double jeopardy laws.
Manafort, 70, was previously sentenced in a pair of federal cases earlier this year as part of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Judge Maxwell Wiley ruled that state law precludes prosecution because the criminal case was too similar to that which landed Manafort in federal prison, writing that the factual overlap between the state and federal cases “is extensive — if not total.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. said they would appeal the decision.
Citing the apparently political nature of the NY case against Manafort, his attorneys thanked the judge.
Fox News continues:
The 16-count New York indictment alleged Manafort gave false and misleading information in applying for residential mortgage loans, starting in 2015 and continuing until three days before Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
. . . . Following the ruling, Todd Blanche, Manafort’s attorney, said: “We have said since the day this indictment was made public that it was politically motivated and violated New York’s statutory double jeopardy law.
“We thank Judge Wiley for his careful consideration of our motion and his thoughtful opinion dismissing the charges against Mr. Manafort. This indictment should never have been brought, and today’s decision is a stark reminder that the law and justice should always prevail over politically-motivated actions.”
This ruling could clear the way for President Trump to pardon Manafort, who is currently in the hospital with a heart ailment.
The New York ruling could clear the way for Trump to pardon Manafort since the former GOP operative will only have been convicted on federal charges. (The president cannot pardon individuals convicted on state charges).
Trump has frequently publicly sympathized with his former campaign chairman, saying he feels “very badly” about what Manafort and his family went through in the Russia investigation. Last February, Bloomberg News reported that New York state prosecutors were putting together a criminal case against Manafort in the event that Trump pardoned him.
Manafort was hospitalized beginning last Thursday after suffering a heart issue in prison last week and was not present in court on Wednesday.
. . . . The Constitution grants the president broad authority to pardon federal crimes, but he cannot pardon state crimes. In the Mueller probe, Manafort was charged with multiple counts of tax fraud, bank fraud, failure to report foreign bank accounts, false statements, money laundering, failure to register as a foreign agent, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.
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