The Manhattan DA’s mortgage-fraud case against President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, doesn’t violate double-jeopardy laws and shouldn’t be tossed, prosecutors argued in court papers Wednesday.
Manafort’s lawyers want the case dropped, arguing he already faced charges for the same conduct in two federal indictments.
But state prosecutors contend in the papers that although the underlying conduct is the same for the state and federal charges, several exceptions outlined in the double-jeopardy law apply that permit the overlap in prosecution.
“The People’s prosecution is exactly the type of prosecution that New York’s double jeopardy statute explicitly permits: a successive prosecution where the harms caused to New York were not redressed by the prior prosecution,” wrote Assistant DAs Sean Pippen, Lisa White, James Graham and Christopher Conroy.
For instance, they said, a federal trial in one of Manafort’s cases ended Aug. 21, 2018, with a jury largely hung on the counts related to his crimes in New York, and a judge declared a mistrial on those counts. For those charges, a second prosecution is permitted, they said.
Another exception to double jeopardy, they argued, is that residential mortgage fraud and falsifying business records are state and not federal crimes, with different legal elements.
Manafort is currently serving a 7½-year sentence following his conviction last year in the two federal cases.
He was convicted of hiding millions of dollars from the IRS that he had earned as a foreign lobbyist and for lying on paperwork to obtain millions of dollars in mortgage loans.
The charges arose from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors wrote in the new filing that they began investigating Manafort for fraud in March 2017. Two months later, the DA’s office learned that Mueller was probing the defendant for the same criminal activity and put its investigation on hold.
Manafort entered a plea deal and cooperation agreement with the feds, which was then revoked after he lied to investigators and the grand jury, state prosecutors wrote in their motion.
“These actions made clear that rather than remorse, the defendant felt he could disregard the rule of law even after the prosecutions brought by the federal government,” the filing states.
The DA’s office resumed its investigation, the papers say, to “finally hold the defendant accountable for his criminal conduct in New York County.”
On March 7, a grand jury indicted Manafort in state court on 16 counts of residential mortgage fraud, attempted residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records and scheme to defraud.
The indictment accuses Manafort of lying to a series of banks to score more than $20 million in loans on four properties he owned between 2015 and 2017.
While Trump could pardon Manafort for his federal convictions, that presidential power does not extend to state crimes.
Justice Maxwell Wiley is scheduled to rule on the motions Dec. 18.