A New York judge throws out fraud charges against Paul Manafort, cit­ing dou­ble jeop­ardy.

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael R. Sisak

NEW YORK — A New York judge threw out state mort­gage fraud charges against Paul Manafort, rul­ing Wed­nes­day that the crim­i­nal case was too sim­i­lar to one that has al­ready landed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s former cam­paign chair­man in fed­eral prison.

The rul­ing was a blow to what had been seen as an at­tempt by Man­hat­tan’s dis­trict at­tor­ney to hedge against the pos­si­bil­ity that

Trump would par­don Manafort for fed­eral crimes. Dis­trict At­tor­ney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s of­fice said it would ap­peal.

Manafort was con­victed last year in two fed­eral cases stem­ming from his busi­ness deal­ings and is serv­ing a 71⁄2-year prison sen­tence.

Judge Maxwell Wi­ley ruled that state law pre­cludes pros­e­cu­tion, cit­ing dou­ble jeop­ardy grounds.

Manafort, 70, wasn’t in court for the rul­ing be­cause of a heart-re­lated con­di­tion that re­port­edly caused him to be moved last week to a hospi­tal from a fed­eral prison in Penn­syl­va­nia.

De­fense lawyer Todd Blanche raised the dou­ble jeop­ardy is­sue soon af­ter Manafort was ar­rested, say­ing the charges brought by Vance, a Demo­crat, vi­o­lated a state law that bars re­peat pros­e­cu­tions for the same gen­eral con­duct. He wrote in court pa­pers seek­ing a dis­missal that the fac­tual over­lap be­tween the fed­eral and state cases “is ex­ten­sive — if not to­tal.”

“This in­dict­ment should never have been brought, and to­day’s de­ci­sion is a stark re­minder that the law and jus­tice should al­ways pre­vail over po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated ac­tions,” Blanche said in a state­ment.

Blanche said Tues­day that Manafort’s con­di­tion is sta­ble, but that his fam­ily and friends re­main “ex­tremely con­cerned about his health and still do not have a full un­der­stand­ing of his med­i­cal con­di­tion or well-be­ing.”

Manafort looked frail as he shuf­fled into a Man­hat­tan court­room in June for an ar­raign­ment on the state charges. In March, at his sen­tenc­ing in the sec­ond of the two fed­eral cases, he used a wheel­chair be­cause of gout.

Manafort was con­victed in fed­eral court on charges al­leg­ing he mis­led the U.S. gov­ern­ment about lu­cra­tive for­eign lob­by­ing work, hid mil­lions of dol­lars from tax au­thor­i­ties and en­cour­aged wit­nesses to lie on his be­half.

The 16-count New York in­dict­ment al­leged Manafort gave false and mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion in ap­ply­ing for res­i­den­tial mort­gage loans, start­ing in 2015 and con­tin­u­ing un­til three days be­fore Trump’s in­au­gu­ra­tion in 2017. He was also charged with fal­si­fy­ing busi­ness records and con­spir­acy.


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