A New York appeals court Thursday upheld a state judge’s ruling to dismiss the $20 million mortgage fraud case against President Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort on the grounds of double jeopardy.
The Appellate Division First Department sided with Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley’s analysis that the federal charges for which Manafort had already been convicted “involved the same fraud, against the same victims, as is charged in his New York indictment,” wrote the three-judge panel.
They rejected the Manhattan District Attorney’s argument that the overlap in prosecution was warranted given that the federal and state statutes were “designed to prevent very different kinds of harm or evil.”
After Manafort, 71, was convicted and sentenced on federal financial fraud charges, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. announced a 16-count indictment alleging, in part, that he had defrauded banks by lying to obtain mortgages on four properties.
Wiley dismissed the case in July 2019 prompting the Manhattan DA to appeal the decision.
Manafort’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, said his client was pleased with the decision. “This is a case that should never have been brought because the dismissed indictment is a clear violation of New York law,” he said.
Manafort could potentially receive a presidential pardon on the federal convictions — which would not apply state charges.
“We will consider our appellate options,” said DA spokesman Danny Frost.