Merry Christmas: Why a Judge Dismissed Some State Fraud Charges Against Paul Manafort

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Posted: Dec 18, 2019 12:50 PM
Merry Christmas: Why a Judge Dismissed Some State Fraud Charges Against Paul Manafort

Source: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is breathing a sigh of relief today. A judge tossed out some fraud charges based on double-jeopardy grounds. Manafort is currently serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for bank and tax fraud. No one has been charged or convicted based on the Russian collusion nonsense that engulfed D.C. and the media for two years, though it did dig up past felonies that predated the 2016 election (via WaPo):

A state court judge in Manhattan dismissed Paul Manafort’s residential mortgage fraud case Wednesday, deciding the local charges against President Trump’s former campaign chairman amounted to a double-jeopardy violation.

Manafort, 70, who was previously convicted in a pair of federal cases related to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III III’s investigation of election interference in 2016, was hospitalized in recent days and excused from appearing in court.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley said state law prohibits the type of case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in an effort to ensure Manafort would be held accountable and remain in custody should Trump move to issue a pardon for the federal convictions. With limited exceptions, the premise of double jeopardy prevents multiple prosecutions stemming from the same crimes.

[…]

Manafort’s lawyers argued that the Republican political consultant embroiled in the 2016 election scandal was already charged and convicted of the same crimes in one of his federal cases — a tax and bank fraud case tried in federal court in Alexandria, Va.

Manafort recently suffered a heart issue in jail. He’s recovering. Will Trump pardon of commute Manafort’s sentence?