Manafort Walks After NY Court Declines To Resurrect State Prosecution

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, exiting his arraignment in New York County Criminal Court, plead not guilty to state mortgage fraud charges on June 27, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, on June 27, 2019 in New York City. Manafort pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud and other crim... NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court, on June 27, 2019 in New York City. Manafort pleaded not guilty to mortgage fraud and other criminal charges filed by New York state authorities. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 8, 2021 5:56 p.m.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will have to end its prosecution of Paul Manafort after a New York court declined to overturn a ruling saying that the case violated state double jeopardy protections.

The ruling effectively brings Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s prosecution of Manafort to an end.

Former President Trump pardoned his former campaign chairman in December for the federal convictions that were secured by the Mueller investigation in 2018.

Trump had long been expected to pardon Manafort. Within minutes of the longtime GOP consultant’s federal sentencing in Washington D.C. in March 2019, a New York state grand jury indicted Manafort on mortgage fraud charges based on conduct similar to that which the Mueller investigation had charged.

Manafort the went to federal prison, until the COVID-19 pandemic led to a judge allowing him to serve his sentence in home confinement. That allowance continued until Trump pardoned him last year.

From the beginning of Vance’s prosecution, Manafort’s attorneys argued that the case violated a New York state law that provides for double jeopardy protections against state trials for already-charged federal crimes.

A state judge agreed with that argument in December 2019, dismissing the case after finding that the law only allows for “very narrow exceptions.”

Last week, the state’s highest court declined to hear a petition from Vance’s office to overturn that ruling, effectively killing the prosecution. Manafort had faced 16 felony counts at the state level.

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