Manafort seeks dismissal of New York State mortgage fraud case

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Paul Manafort, the disgraced former campaign chairman for President Trump, is seeking dismissal of a mortgage fraud case against him in New York because he was already tried on similar charges in federal court.

Manafort lawyers argued in a court filing that New York's broad double-jeopardy law protects defendants from multiple prosecutions for the same conduct, even if they were charged in other jurisdictions or by different government authorities. Manafort was convicted in a pair of federal prosecutions in Washington, D.C., and Virginia and was sentenced to more than seven years in prison, which he is currently serving at the minimum security FCI Loretto in Pennsylvania.

Some of the federal charges by Robert Mueller's special-counsel team included the acts he is now being prosecuted for in New York, including lying on mortgage applications for properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn, his attorneys said.

Legal analysts have said a state case could ensure Manafort serves substantial prison time, even if Trump decides to pardon him for the federal crimes. In the dismissal request, Manafort's lawyers suggested the New York case was politically motivated.

"Mr. Manafort is entitled to the equal protection of New York’s double-jeopardy statute, which permits no exceptions for defendants who have garnered national interest, nor favored political causes of the elected district attorney," wrote Todd Blanche of the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. The filing added that an announcement of the charges by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. "was as much campaign speech as public announcement."

Manafort pleaded not guilty to the New York charges in June. A hearing in the case is scheduled for Oct. 9. A spokesman for Vance’s office said prosecutors will respond to the defense motion in a court filing before the hearing.

Bloomberg News
Mortgage fraud Financial crimes State regulators Enforcement actions Donald Trump New York