Paul Manafort could do hard time for his crimes in New York – and so could Trump and company

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psbsve / Flickr FBI Probe Of Paul Manafort Focuses...
psbsve / Flickr

I agree with the pundits who say that President Trump will pardon Paul Manafort. The facile and ludicrous lie that he hadn’t even thought about it suggests the opposite, as many of Trump’s lies do.

Now the Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance, Jr. has indicted Manafort on 16 counts. This, we must note, is not the famous, or if you’re Donald Trump, the infamous Southern District of New York (SDNY).  That is a federal agency and any convictions prosecuted through themthere can be pardoned by Donald Trump. This DA’s office represents the city of New York.

Here’s the press release:

Manhattan Grand Jury Charges Manafort with Residential Mortgage Fraud, Other New York State Crimes, Amid D.A. Investigation Commenced in March 2017

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. today announced the indictment of PAUL MANAFORT, 69, for a yearlong residential mortgage fraud scheme through which MANAFORT and others falsified business records to illegally obtain millions of dollars. MANAFORT is charged in a New York State Supreme Court indictment filed on March 7, 2019, with Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, and Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree.[1]

“No one is beyond the law in New York,” said District Attorney Vance. “Following an investigation commenced by our Office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York’s sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market. I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”

A copy of the indictment is available here.

[1] The charges contained in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court.

Defendant Information:

PAUL MANAFORT, D.O.B. 4/1/1949

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Charged:

  • Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, a class B felony, 3 counts
  • Attempted Residential Mortgage Fraud in the First Degree, a class C felony, 1 count
  • Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, a class E felony, 3 counts
  • Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a class E felony, 8 counts
  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, 1 count

If Manafort is tried and convicted in New York City the only person who can pardon him is Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. If convicted in New York for the crimes listed above he could face up to 25 years in prison.

There are questions being raised about whether New York State’s double jeopardy laws would prohibit indicting Manafort for crimes he committed in their jurisdiction. We have to count on the legal acumen of Cy Vance, Jr. and his team to have carefully considered this.

Paul Manafort is supposedly an ailing man with multiple physical infirmities and he is even suffering from a panic disorder. He may be as sick as he is being portrayed, he may not. Regardless, he committed crimes which would end anyone who wasn’t a white collar criminal with connections in prison.

The fact that he’s 69 years old and if he serves a decade in prison he’ll be nearly 80 when he is released is irrelevant. His Wikipedia profile reads like a catalog of associations with shady characters.

He got away with breaking the law and enriching himself for many years by representing and lobbying for characters such as the leader of the Angolan rebel group UNITA  Jonas Savimbi, he lobbied for then-president of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos. He was also involved in lobbying for Mobuto of Zaire, and he worked for Lebanese arms-dealer Abdul Rahman al-Assir. He worked with Pakistan’s intelligence service as part of a disinformation operation to divert attention from terrorism.

More recently in 2004 he worked as an adviser on the Ukranian presidential campaign of Viktor Yanukovych. and continued to work on behalf of Ukraine.

Apparently aside from some issues about not always registering as a foreign agent, none of these activities, unsavory as some were, were illegal.

Fortunately for us, his horrendously exorbitant spending habits and bad investment judgment led him to break banking and real estate laws in New York State. 

Even if a conspiracy case involving Russia can’t be brought against Manafort in federal court, where a conviction could be pardoned, and he gets a pardon for the crimes unrelated to Russia which he’s already been sentenced to over seven years in prison for, courts in New York, both city and state, may be able to indict and try him for crimes committed there.

There are many inmates in prison for crimes they got caught for even though they committed other far more serious crimes. I know this from having worked in various capacities with the police and with county district attornies.

Manafort was convicted in two fair trials. Yet he may walk free thanks to Donald Trump.

The two prosecutors Trump has to fear now are Cyrus Vance, Jr., and the newly elected state attorney general, Letitia James. James has yet to announce any indictments, however, when she took office she said she intended to investigate the president and his business associations.

It will be poetic justice if New York state, and New York City, in particular, were the jurisdictions which ultimately led to the downfall of the man who once fancied himself to be the king of the Big Apple.

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Caricature public domain by DonkeyHotely/Flicker, photoshop by author.
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1 Comment on "Paul Manafort could do hard time for his crimes in New York – and so could Trump and company"

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Thankfully there are strong Prosecutors who do not feel that anyone is above the law…thank you to this office for doing your job and not looking away from this wrong doing!