Paul Manafort’s lawyers cite double jeopardy law in N.Y. case

Paul Manafort. Photo: Instagram

Sept. 6 (UPI) — Lawyers for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort said their client shouldn’t have to face trial in New York on fraud charges because he was already convicted in federal court.

They cited New York state’s so-called double jeopardy law in a filing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

“The indictment before this court — charges brought by the New York County District Attorney based on alleged conduct identical to that for which Mr. Manafort was previously charged, tried and sentenced — violates this black-letter New York law,” attorney Todd Blanche said in the filing.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. filed the charges in March, accusing Manafort of falsifying business records in order to secure millions in residential mortgage loans from 2015 to 2017. If convicted on the most serious count, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

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Manafort pleaded not guilty to 16 felony fraud counts in June.

Manafort is awaiting the start of his New York trial in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Detention Center. He had been in a minimum security federal prison in Pennsylvania, where he’s serving 7.5 years for convictions related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The New York Post reported that Vance’s office is expected to argue that because residential mortgage fraud and falsifying business records are state crimes, not federal crimes, double jeopardy doesn’t apply to the case.

Mueller also ended up dropping 10 of the counts Manafort faced at the federal level as part of a plea deal after a jury couldn’t reach a unanimous agreement on the counts, Politico reported.

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