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Ex-Trump aide Manafort to plead not guilty in New York

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of numerous federal crimes last year, is expected to plead not guilty on Thursday to residential mortgage fraud and other New York state charges, setting the stage for a showdown over whether those charges amount to double jeopardy.

Manafort, 70, is scheduled to appear before Justice Maxwell Wiley of the state Supreme Court on Thursday at 2:15 p.m. EDT (1815 GMT) to face an indictment with 16 felony charges disclosed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in March.

The charges include mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying records related to Manafort’s efforts to obtain millions of dollars in loans on New York properties between 2015 and 2017. He served as chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for three months until August 2016.

Todd Blanche, Manafort’s lawyer, told Reuters his client would plead not guilty. Blanche said he planned to bring a motion to dismiss the case on double jeopardy grounds, given that the charges center on mortgage applications to two banks that were also at issue in Manafort’s federal trial last year.

Under New York law, a person can only be prosecuted twice for the same act if it meets certain exceptions such as at least one element of the crimes is distinct and the statutes address “very different kinds of harm or evil.” Vance’s office will likely argue an exception to New York’s double jeopardy protections is warranted in Manafort’s case.


27th June 2019

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