Donald Trump’s imprisoned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is set to be arraigned on state mortgage fraud charges which could keep him locked up even if he’s pardoned for federal crimes uncovered during the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
Manafort, 70, is already serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for misleading the US government about his lucrative foreign lobbying work, hiding millions of dollars from tax authorities and encouraging witnesses to lie on his behalf.
He was transferred last week to a federal prison in New York for his scheduled arraignment before Judge Maxwell Wiley.
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr announced the state charges in March, just minutes after Manafort was sentenced in the second of his two federal cases, saying in a statement at the time: “No-one is beyond the law in New York.”
Manafort’s federal cases were byproducts of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian influence on the 2016 election. A judge who presided over one of them made clear they had nothing to do with Russian election interference, but rather Manafort’s years of “gaming the system”.
The 16-count New York indictment alleges Manafort gave false and misleading information in applying for residential mortgage loans, starting in 2015 and continuing until three days before Trump’s inauguration in 2017.
He is also charged with falsifying business records and conspiracy.
Some of the alleged conduct described in the New York indictment echoes the charges and testimony in Manafort’s federal tax fraud case, and his lawyers are expected to challenge the case on double jeopardy grounds.
Manhattan prosecutors contend their case is safe from a double-jeopardy challenge because mortgage fraud and falsifying business records are state crimes but not federal crimes.
The president can pardon federal crimes but not state offences.
Mr Trump has said he feels “very badly” for Manafort but has not given any thought to a pardon.
In conjunction with Manafort’s federal convictions, the US government seized two of his Manhattan properties and put them up for sale.
His Trump Tower apartment, a one-bedroom property with sweeping views of Central Park, is listed at $3.6m (£2,851,823).
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