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New York state court dismisses state fraud charges against Paul Manafort under double jeopardy law
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New York state court dismisses state fraud charges against Paul Manafort under double jeopardy law

A four-judge New York appellate panel Thursday unanimously agreed to dismiss state fraud charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Manafort, who was previously sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for money laundering and witness tampering in a federal court, might escape state prosecution for similar crimes. The New York court ruled that the state’s double jeopardy law, which prevents the court from prosecuting someone for the same crime, shields Manafort from certain state lawsuits. The New York Supreme Court panel found that the federal and state crimes “involve the same fraud, against the same victims.” The panel reasoned that since both the federal and state charges were for fraudulent transactions and the state failed to establish how the harms would be different, the state’s double jeopardy law would protect Manafort from being prosecuted for the same crimes on top of his federal sentence.

The panel affirmed Judge Maxwell Wiley’s lower court decision in December to dismiss the 16 counts again Manafort for mortgage fraud, falsifying business records, and crimes related to his property and loans because he had already received a prison sentence from the D.C. federal court for bank and tax fraud charges.

After his lawyers successfully requested he be transferred out of the prison by citing COVID-19 concerns, Manafort is currently serving the remainder of his sentence under home confinement.