Judge throws out NY state fraud charges against Manafort

Judge throws out NY state fraud charges against Manafort
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A judge in New York threw out mortgage fraud charges against Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortCohen released from federal prison to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns Advocates call on states to release more inmates amid pandemic Michael Cohen to be moved to home confinement due to coronavirus concerns: report MORE on Wednesday, ruling that the case constituted double jeopardy for the convicted former Trump campaign official.

Judge Maxwell Wiley ruled that the charges from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance overlapped with various bank fraud charges that Manafort faced in federal court last year. Manafort was convicted on some of those charges and sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Manafort was reportedly absent from a brief hearing on Wednesday, and has been hospitalized in recent days with heart problems.

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The Manhattan district attorney's office said it would appeal the decision.

“We will appeal today’s decision and will continue working to ensure that Mr. Manafort is held accountable for the criminal conduct against the People of New York that is alleged in the indictment,” Danny Frost, a spokesman for Vance's office, said in a statement.

Vance's indictment included 16 counts.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice says it will recommend Trump veto FISA bill Fauci: Nominating conventions may be able to go on as planned Poll: Biden leads Trump by 11 points nationally MORE has not ruled out pardoning Manafort for his federal conviction, but would be powerless to forgive any state criminal charges against his former campaign chairman.

In a statement, Manafort's attorney, Todd Blanche, praised Wiley for the decision.

“We have said since the day this indictment was made public that it was politically motivated and violated New York’s statutory double jeopardy law," Blanche said. "This indictment should never have been brought, and today’s decision is a stark reminder that the law and justice should always prevail over politically-motivated actions.”

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Manafort was convicted of seven counts of bank and tax fraud, as well as one count of failing to disclose an offshore bank account, in a case brought by the former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE. A jury failed to reach a verdict on 10 other counts.

Before a second separate trial could begin, Manafort reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy and witness tampering.

The charges stemmed from an illegal financial scheme to hide Manafort's work for the Ukraine government and shield the income from that operation from U.S. taxes.

This week, Manafort's deputy on the Trump campaign, Richard Gates, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years in jail for his role in the scheme. He managed to avoid a significant prison sentence by cooperating extensively with the special counsel's office, including providing testimony in court that helped secure Manafort's conviction.

Updated at 11:51 a.m.