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New York’s highest court has denied Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s effort to charge former President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort in a mortgage fraud case.
In the ruling handed down last week, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore upheld the decision by a lower appeals court and by Judge Maxwell Wiley, who both ruled that Vance’s attempt to charge Manafort would violate double jeopardy.
Manafort was convicted of a fraud scheme in federal court and sentenced to seven years in prison — but was pardoned by Trump soon before he left office.
After Manafort was convicted, Vance announced het had been charged in New York state court on a 16-count indictment, alleging he had defrauded banks by lying to obtain mortgages on four properties.
Judge Wiley struck down the attempt in a 26-page decision in December, saying the case was too close to the federal charges Manafort had already been prosecuted for.
“The People have failed to establish that the harm or evil each statute is designed to prevent is very different in kind from the federal statutes for which the defendant was previously prosecuted,” Wiley wrote the decision.
Vance then appealed to the First Judicial Department of the Appeals Court, which upheld Wiley’s decision.
Vance then appealed to the state’s highest court, leading to Judge DiFiore’s Feb. 4 decision.
“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,” Manafort’s attorney, Todd Blanche said Monday.
“As the trial court held, and the Appellate Division affirmed, the People’s arguments ‘fall far short’ of triggering an exception to double jeopardy that would justify this prosecution,” he added.