Although former President Donald Trump earned some criticism for exercising his power to pardon, one high-profile recipient is sure to be pleased with the result.
According to recent reports, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort recently learned that he will not face prosecution in the state of New York due to the clemency he received from his ex-boss.
As CNBC noted, the New York Court of Appeals declined to hear an appeal by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. that sought to overturn a lower court decision that Manafort was protected by the concept of double jeopardy, which states that a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same criminal charge.
Manafort pleaded guilty in 2018 to various federal offenses stemming from his business involvement with a political party in Ukraine.
He was subsequently sentenced to serve more than seven years behind bars and Vance hoped to prosecute him for mortgage fraud under state statutes.
That attempt was barred, however, on the grounds that those allegations were included in Manafort’s federal prosecution, which was dismissed in 2019.
Attorney Todd Blanche, who is representing the former GOP political consultant, welcomed the recent appeals court decision.
“Blatant prosecutorial overreach”
“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,” the lawyer wrote in an email to CNBC.
Blanche went on to cite the court’s determination that “the People’s arguments ‘fell far short’ of triggering an exception to double jeopardy that would justify this prosecution,” asserting that Manafort’s legal team is “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.”
After Manafort was released from federal prison in May due to COVID-19 concerns, he received a presidential pardon months later.
In a statement at the time, the White House said: “As a result of blatant prosecutorial overreach, Mr. Manafort has endured years of unfair treatment and is one of the most prominent victims of what has been revealed to be perhaps the greatest witch hunt in American history.”
Manafort’s attorneys had been pursuing a double-jeopardy defense against the state charges since before Trump issued his pardon. A spokesman for Vance did not immediately provide a public statement in response to the appeals court decision.