By Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne
(More Bank) – The Manhattan district prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against Paul Manafort, former President of the United States President Donald Trump's campaign, whether or not he condones his sentencing to a federal sentence. said Friday a person close to the case.
The charges come from unpaid public taxes and are probably also tied to loans, depending on the source, which required anonymity because the charges were not filed.
A spokesman for Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Manafort.
Manafort, aged 69, was convicted of bank and tax fraud in Alexandria, Virginia in August by a federal court and pleaded guilty in a parallel criminal case in Washington, both of which were part of the investigation. the US special advocate on a possible collusion between the 2016 campaign and Russia. His sentence is expected next month and could be sent to jail for a decade or more.
However, Trump fueled speculation that he could forgive Manafort by not dismissing the prospect and showing sympathy for his plight. At the Manafort trial in Virginia, Trump called him a "very good person" and described the case of tax and banking fraud against him as "very sad".
In an unusual arrangement, Manafort's lawyer also kept Trump informed of his talks with his special American lawyer, Robert Mueller, after he agreed to cooperate, as More Bank reported in October.
A US president can only forgive for federal crimes, so that Manafort could still be sentenced to prison if convicted by heads of state. However, New York has broad double jeopardy protections that generally prevent the state from prosecuting a person for crimes resulting from the same criminal conduct that the federal government had already followed.
But taxes are a fair game, said Marc Scholl, a former district attorney for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, noting that the protections against double jeopardy do not apply to state taxes.
New York changed the law in 2011 after tax charges imposed on the owner of a New York hotel, Leona Helmsley, were rejected because they were based on the same criminal transaction "as his convictions for tax evasion.
After that, the New York law recognized "that a failure to pay what is due to the state is different from a default of payment of what is due to the federal government, even though it is based on the same income, "said Scholl.
Democratic lawmakers in New York have also tabled a bill to remove other protections to prevent people from being tried twice for the same crime in presidential pardon cases. But the measure has not yet been adopted by the legislature in Albany.
The New York Times announced Friday that a grand jury in a state court in Manhattan was hearing evidence against Manafort. More Bank also reported possible charges on Friday.
More Bank announced last year that some of the Manafort real estate loans in New York were under investigation by Vance. The public prosecutor issued subpoenas to lenders, including the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, a small bank that granted millions of loans to Manafort. Prosecutors, however, continued their investigation so as not to hinder Mueller's work.
Manafort is the only person accused by Mueller of appearing in court. More than 30 other people and three companies were either charged or pleaded guilty in the investigation of alleged interference from Russia in 2016 to help Trump get elected. Trump and Russia have denied any wrongdoing.
(Report by Karen Freifeld and Nathan Layne in New York, additional report by Lisa Lambert in Washington, edited by Daniel Grebler and Grant McCool)