Judge tosses mortgage-fraud case against Manafort

Former Trump campaign manager's 7-year federal prison sentence unaffected

Dec.December 18, 2019 03:30 PM
Paul Manafort and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (Credit: Getty Images)

Paul Manafort and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Manhattan district attorney’s criminal case against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has been dismissed by a New York judge.

Manafort’s lawyers argued that the charges in the state case, which include residential-mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records, were based on the same misconduct for which their client was already serving a seven-year federal prison sentence.

Justice Maxwell Wiley took that view. “Given the rather unique set of facts pertaining to the defendant’s previous prosecution in federal court, and given New York’s law on this subject, defendant’s motion to dismiss the indictment as barred by state double jeopardy law must be granted,” he wrote.

The ailing, 70-year-old Manafort was unable to appear in court Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The state indictment, which accused Manafort of submitting false documents while applying for more than $20 million in bank loans, was seen as a response to concerns that President Donald Trump would pardon his former campaign chairman. Trump has said that a pardon wasn’t “right now on my mind,” although he felt “very badly” for Manafort.

“This indictment should never have been brought, and today’s decision is a stark reminder that the law and justice should always prevail over politically motivated actions,” Manafort lawyer Todd Blanche said after the ruling.

Prosecutors argued that the state case is not barred by double jeopardy because the state and federal crimes had different legal requirements, while conceding that the underlying actions are the same.

A spokesperson for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the D.A. will appeal the decision.

Manafort is scheduled to be released from a low-security federal prison in Loretto, Pa., on Christmas Day in 2024. [WSJ] — Kevin Sun

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