For the past several days, the District Attorney for Manhattan has been making clear that he was going to bring state-level charges against Paul Manafort in New York. We all knew it was coming. We just didn’t know it was coming this dramatically. Moments after Manafort’s federal prison sentence got bumped up to the eight year range, the State of New York criminally indicted Manafort on sixteen new felony charges.
The new charges against Paul Manafort are centered around his mortgage fraud in the state, and include conspiracy charges. To be clear, these crimes cannot be pardoned by Donald Trump or any future president, and can only be pardoned by the Governor of New York, which is not going to happen. So this ensures two things.
First, assuming Paul Manafort is convicted on these charges – which seems likely given that a federal jury has already convicted him on similar financial fraud charges despite the presence of at least one Trump supporter on the jury – this will result in additional years being tacked onto Manafort’s prison sentence. He’s already looking at very likely dying behind bars as a result of his age and his federal prison sentence, but this will make it even harder for him to get out of prison within his natural lifespan.
Second, this means that Donald Trump might as well not even bother trying to pardon Paul Manafort on federal charges. This would result in Manafort becoming a free man while the pardon of an alleged co-conspirator is contested in the courts. But in such case New York State would immediately arrest Manafort, and based on his history of tampering with juries, it would be unlikely that he would get bail.
In addition, New York State just sent a clear message to Donald Trump about his own crime spree. New York just subpoenaed Trump’s financial records in relation to bank fraud and insurance fraud, suggesting it intends to fine him and seize his assets. And now New York is busting Trump’s henchman Paul Manafort in overtly dramatic fashion, just moments after his federal sentencing. There’s clearly more to come.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report