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

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.

The ruling is not expected to impact the investigation into Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, which was launched last month after Bannon was granted a pardon on federal fraud charges, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bannon and three other men were accused of defrauding investors in a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to build a wall along the southern US border. Bannon had pleaded not guilty to the charges. Since Bannon was not convicted of the federal charges, the double jeopardy laws that prohibit someone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime, would not apply, Blanche said.

This story has been updated with additional information on Bannon.


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