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Paul Manafort can't be prosecuted in NY after Trump's pardon

Paul Manafort can't be prosecuted in NY after Trump's pardon

February 10, 2021: Paul Manafort, the Republican consultant who ran Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, cannot be prosecuted in the state court of New York for conduct related to his prior federal criminal convictions, ensured by a court ruling.

Last week, the New York Court of Appeals refused to hear an appeal of lower-court that barred Manafort’s prosecution by the Manhattan district attorney’s office for double jeopardy.

The state’s highest court’s decision comes less than two months after then-President Trump pardoned Manafort for his federal convictions.

Manafort was convicted at trial and was pleaded guilty in 2018 to many incomes related federal crimes from consulting work he did in Ukraine for a pro-Russia political party.

He was sentenced to 7½ years in prison right after. Vance announced that he had charged Manafort in Manhattan Supreme Court with mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and business records for being false.

Vance’s prosecution was designed to ensure that Manafort was punished for his crimes even if Trump pardoned him. Presidents can pardon individuals for federal convictions only, not for state charges.

Todd Blanche, Manafort’s lawyer, argued that the New York case was barred legally by double jeopardy, from which a person is prevented from being prosecuted twice for the same crime. Blanche noted that the issue related to mortgage applications that were the subject of Manafort’s federal trial.

The judge of the Manhattan Supreme Court agreed with Blanche and dismissed the case in December 2019.

In October, months after Manafort had been released into home confinement because of Covid-19 concerns in prison, the Appellate Division of the First Judicial Department upheld the dismissal.

Vance then asked the Court of Appeals to hear his appeal of the dismissal. That court last Thursday rejected the prosecutor’s application.

“As we have said from the time the District Attorney announced charges against Mr. Manafort, this is a case that should never have been brought because the dismissed indictment is a clear violation of New York law,” Blanche said in an email.

“As the trial court held, and the Appellate Division affirmed, the People’s arguments ‘fall far short’ of triggering an exception to double jeopardy that would justify this prosecution,” Blanche said.

Manafort was one of the dozens of people to get pardons and executive clemency from Donald Trump after Losing the presidential elections to Joe Biden.

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