New York Preparing Charges For Paul Manafort Should Trump Pardon Him

While many eyes are glued to the anticipated release of the Mueller report regarding possible collusion between Russia and then-candidate Trump’s 2016 campaign, the real action is taking place in the SDNY (Southern District of New York), especially with Paul Manafort.

Photo Credit: Victoria Pickering

Bloomberg reports that New York State prosecutors are hurrying a criminal case against Manafort should President Trump pardon him for his involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign. It is largely being seen as an insurance policy if Trump’s former ally receives a pardon.

Manafort was convicted of eight felonies but only pled guilty to two counts. He’s scheduled to be sentenced next month for those federal crimes.

What makes this case so particularly interesting is how Manafort is simultaneously facing equally serious crimes at the state level. New York County District attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., for example, is preparing a plethora of criminal charges, including evasion of New York taxes and violations of state laws requiring companies to keep accurate records, according to one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the investigation is confidential.

Although treading on legally tricky ground, Lance’s office believes there are a number of factors where Manafort could be charged with State offenses without committing double jeopardy. Moreover, New York law allows defendants who have already been convicted of evading federal taxes to be charged with the same conduct as it applies to state taxes.

Naturally, Manafort’s legal team will strongly challenge the state, possibly invoking constitutional protections.

My suggestion is to change the double jeopardy statute in New York to permit prosecutions with this kind of conduct in mind, said John Moscow who is now at Lewis Baach LLC and isn’t involved in the matter. As interpreted, the statute is too broad and needs to be rethought.

If convicted of state crimes, Manafort would likely face prison time in less than glamorous prisons. None of this bodes well for a president who has been ensnared in this scandal since the day he took office.

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