Court denies New York from charging Manafort over double jeopardy law

A New York state court of appeals has barred Attorney General Vance from charging Paul Manafort after he was pardoned late last year by then-President Donald Trump. Photos by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Feb. 9 (UPI) — The New York state appeals court has denied prosecutors from seeking to file charges against Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager to former President Donald Trump.

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore quietly ruled last week against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s attempt to appeal a lower court’s decision that barred him from charging Manafort with residential mortgage fraud stating it would violate New York’s double jeopardy law as he was earlier convicted in a related federal case.

Manafort, 71, was convicted and sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for tax evasion, fraud and witness tampering — federal crimes that were uncovered as part of the Justice Department’s Russian election interference investigation.

He was also separately sentenced to 47 months on eight counts of bank fraud stemming from the same investigation.

However, Trump granted Manafort a full pardon in late December.

Last week’s ruling comes in response to Vance indicting Manafort in March 2019 on accusations of running a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme and falsifying business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars, which the state’s Supreme Court ruled against in December of that year and was upheld last October.

Vance had asked the appeal court to reconsider and was denied Feb. 2.

Todd Blanche, Manafort’s attorney, said in a statement Monday that this case against his client never should have been brought before the appeals court, as it had already been dismissed as a clear violation of New York state law.

“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,” he said. “We are pleased the New York court of appeals saw no reason to give leave to the district attorney to appellate the well-reasoned prior decision dismissing the indictment and the appellate division’s opinion affirming the same.”


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