Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will be brought to trial on June 27, 2019 on charges in the New York Supreme Court.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
Paul Manafort, the Republican adviser who at one point led Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, cannot be prosecuted in a New York court for conduct related to his previous federal criminal convictions. This was ensured by a court ruling.
The New York Court of Appeals last week declined to hear an appeal against a lower court ruling banning Manafort’s double exposure prosecution by the Manhattan District Attorney.
The state’s highest court ruling comes two months after then-President Trump pardoned Manafort for his federal convictions.
A spokesman for Manhattan Attorney General Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to comment on the decision, first reported in the New York Times. Vance cannot appeal the decision to any other court.
Manafort was convicted in court and found separately guilty in 2018 of several federal crimes related to consulting revenue he provided to a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.
Immediately after being sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison on these cases, Vance announced that he had tried Manafort in the Manattan Supreme Court of mortgage fraud, conspiracy and forgery of business records.
Vance’s law enforcement was, at least in part, to ensure that Manafort was punished for his crimes, even if Trump pardoned him, as Trump had implied. Presidents can only excuse individuals for federal convictions, not state charges.
However, Manafort attorney Todd Blanche argued that the New York case is outlawed by double exposure, which precludes a person from being prosecuted twice for the same crime. Blanche noted that the Cae was referring to mortgage applications that were the subject of federal proceedings against Manafort.
A Manhattan Supreme Court judge agreed to Blanche and dismissed the case in December 2019. Vance then appealed the decision.
But last October, months after Manafort was released in prison over Covid-19 concerns, that release was upheld by the Appeals Division of the First Department of Justice.
Vance then asked the appeals court to hear his appeal against the dismissal. That court denied the prosecutor’s request last Thursday.
Blance received the decision on Monday.
“As we said earlier when the District Attorney announced charges against Mr. Manafort, this is a case that should never have been brought as the dismissed charge is a clear violation of New York law,” Blanche said in an email .
“As the court found and the Appeals Division confirmed, the people’s arguments are far from triggering a dual threat exception that would warrant this prosecution,” said Blanche.
“We are pleased that the New York Court of Appeals has seen no reason to give the district attorney permission to appeal the prior reasoned decision dismissing the charges and the appeals department’s opinion on it.”
Manafort was one of dozens of people to receive pardons and executive mercy from Trump after Trump lost the presidential election to Joe Biden.
Among the other pardons was Roger Stone, Manafort’s former business partner and himself a longtime GOP agent.
Stone was convicted last year of lied to Congress about its efforts to obtain information about emails received from the WikiLeaks document disclosure group after the emails were stolen by Russian agents Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager and the National Democratic Committee.