Manafort Indicted on 16 Charges in New York

Published on March 13, 2019 by Athena Pallas

Within minutes of Paul Manafort’s sentencing on federal charges today, New York announced 16 new indictments against Manafort, particularly of note because President Trump can’t pardon Manafort for state convictions. The charges today were brought by the Manhattan District Attorney in the New York Supreme Court in New York City. The charges, which include mortgage fraud, falsifying business records, and conspiracy, relate to Manafort allegedly committing fraud in order to get millions of dollars in mortgage loans from December of 2015 to January of 2017.

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“No one is beyond the law in New York,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement about the charges against Manafort, according to The Hill, adding “I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.” The investigation that led to these charges actually began in March of 2017, about seven months before Manafort was indicted by federal prosecutors, which could help to allay the suspicions of some people that today’s charges, given the timing of the charges, were politically motivated. Certainly there is in interest in not allowing President Trump to dangle pardons in order to obstruct justice. According to The Hill:

The Manhattan District Attorney on Wednesday indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in connection to a mortgage fraud scheme, announcing the charges within minutes of his sentencing in federal court in Washington, D.C. District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced 16 charges against Manafort, including residential mortgage fraud, attempted mortgage fraud, falsifying business records and conspiracy…The 11-page indictment, filed in New York Supreme Court in New York City, alleges that Manafort falsified business records to obtain millions of dollars in mortgage loans…While the president could spare Manafort from his federal charges, he does not have the authority to issue pardons in state cases.

Trump and his defenders, in addition to claiming that these state charges are politically motivated, are likely also to claim that they represent double jeopardy for Manafort by potentially overlapping with some of the federal charges. District Attorney Vance asserted, however, that he believes the charges will be able to prevail over any double jeopardy challenge. New York state has also moved in recent months to close loopholes in state law on double jeopardy that would otherwise make it difficult to bring state charges against someone on the receiving end of a presidential pardon. New York’s governor and attorney general are both supportive of these changes.

This development with Manafort in New York comes just one day after it was reported that New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office had subpoenaed two banks for records regarding deals with the Trump Organization. New York continues to be pushing forward the effort to hold Trump, his company, and his associates accountable.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.