Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Piling on Manafort. New York State's Turn at Bat.
Paul Manafort has been on something of a roll. He got just 47 months imprisonment for his first batch of convictions. Today the judge bumped that up to a total of 7.5 years, all in. That's not bad for a guy who was facing 30 plus years on all charges. And there's the real prospect of a pardon from Trump on his way out of the White House.
Now, more charges. New York state prosecutors have hit Manafort with new charges, 16 felonies, for fraudulently falsifying business records to secure loans. Those are state charges. If Manafort is convicted he'll be beyond the reach of any presidential pardon.
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Plus he'll get a hundred gazillion years for winning the election for Russia!
We assume the feds are finished with Manafort. What if we're wrong about that?
I was just thinking about the idea of "double jeopardy" protections in the Bill of Rights. Currently both States and the Feds can effectively prosecute the same crime, from the slightly different angles of any state or federal laws.
It's a controversy whether this is constitutionally legal. The US Supreme Court said, last year, that this is legal. Here is story about this decision, and it accurately telegraphed how it could affect Manafort and his mortgage fraud https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/05/supreme-court-double-jeopardy-federal-state-prosecutions/2165392002/. New York has a statute that prevents the State from prosecuting a defendant who has faced a similar federal crime: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/04/schneiderman-double-jeopardy/558389/, but New York wants to change the law https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2019-03-13/new-manafort-charges-could-spur-double-jeopardy-fix-in-ny/.
I just wonder if Trump is pressuring anyone in the justice department at this very instant to get Manafort to plea to federal criminal statute related to his potential New York charges, in order to foil a NY state prosecution, under its current double jeopardy law. Trump could then pardon him, and New York would have to suck eggs.
A very interesting scenario, Chris. It raises the question of whether a state's jurisdiction over a criminal matter can be ousted by federal jurisdiction after the state has commenced prosecution. Do you think the Republicans are that gutsy?
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