A New York appeals court has ruled that Paul Manafort could not be charged with mortgage fraud and other felonies because of the state’s double jeopardy law.
The ruling was a setback for Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., who sought to ensure Manafort’s prosecution if he were to be granted a presidential pardon, the New York Times reported.
Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former adviser and campaign chairman, was convicted in federal court in 2018 for financial crimes, including bank fraud and filing false tax returns. He later pleaded guilty in a separate case for money laundering and obstruction of justice.
The latest decision upholds a 2019 New York State Supreme Court ruling, which tossed out Vance’s March 2019 criminal case against the former Trump adviser. Attorneys for Manafort have said that the state indictment, which accused Manafort of submitting false documents while applying for more than $20 million in bank loans, is politically motivated. The charges included residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records. In a separate case, Vance is investigating Trump’s business practices.
“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,” Todd Blanche, who represented Manafort, said in a statement to the Times.
Vance’s office told the Times it’s exploring its “appellate options.”
[NYT] — Georgia Kromrei