Political News

Paul Manafort can't be prosecuted on state charges, New York court rules

Posted February 8, 2021 6:24 p.m. EST

— The New York state appeals court denied the Manhattan district attorney's effort to bring criminal charges against Paul Manafort after he was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump.

In a brief ruling, the chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals denied Cyrus Vance's application to have the appeal re-argued after a lower court threw out state charges against Manafort in 2019 on double jeopardy grounds.

Manafort pleaded guilty to undisclosed foreign lobbying and witness tampering conspiracies and was convicted at trial on federal tax fraud and bank fraud charges. On the day he was sentenced, the district attorney's office announced a 16-count indictment of state charges.

"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," said Todd Blanche, Manafort's attorney. "As the trial court held, and the Appellate Division affirmed, the people's arguments 'all far short' of triggering an exception to double jeopardy that would justify this prosecution."

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment.

Manafort was pardoned by Trump in December for the federal crimes. He was serving his sentence in home confinement after serving close to two years in prison.

Vance's office is considering bringing state charges against Steve Bannon following his pardon by Trump, The Washington Post and The New York Times have reported. In 2019, New York state passed legislation that allowed for the state to prosecute individuals who had been pardoned by a president.

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