New York state’s highest court ruled that the Manhattan district attorney’s office could not prosecute political operative Paul Manafort for mortgage fraud because of the state’s double jeopardy rule.
Manafort, a previous campaign director for former President Donald Trump, was pardoned by Trump after being convicted of multiple federal crimes. During that period, Manafort was in the middle of serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence after being convicted in a 2018 fraud trial.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance charged Manafort with mortgage fraud back in March 2019, anticipating the former president would pardon the Republican political operative, according to the New York Times.
However, in October, the New York appeals court ruled that Vance’s action violated its double jeopardy rule. In a decision dated Feb. 4, the state’s top court upheld the lower-court ruling, barring Vance from prosecuting Manafort.
“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,” Manafort’s attorney Todd Blanche said in a statement, according to The Hill. “As the trial court held, and the Appellate Division affirmed, the People’s arguments ‘fall far short’ of triggering an exception to double jeopardy that would justify this prosecution.”
“We are pleased that the New York Court of Appeals saw no reason to give leave to the District Attorney to appeal the well-reasoned prior decision dismissing the indictment and the Appellate Division’s opinion affirming the same,” the attorney added. (RELATED: Judge Orders Paul Manafort Released From Prison To Home Confinement)