The theory that Paul Manafort would be able to withstand the heat of convictions and jail time, with a long prison sentence on the way, long enough to get a pardon from Donald Trump, just went up in smoke. The District Attorney for Manhattan is preparing to hit Manafort with state-level criminal charges that the New York Times reports could include “falsifying records, mortgage fraud, and tax evasion.”
Manafort’s lawyers are floating double jeopardy protection, arguing that these are charges their convicted felon client has already been found guilty of, but state-level tax evasion charges would seem to be strictly in the purview of New York State. That slim defense was also likely anticipated and is something that coordination with the Mueller investigation has surely prepared them for. Also, no reasonable judge is likely to see Manafort’s side, considering Manafort’s lies to investigators that voided his plea deal.
Donald Trump Jr should be worried, as many alleged Trump Organization crimes are also within the Manhattan District Attorney’s purview. Mike Pence also continues to have a lot of explaining to do about his ties to Manafort’s Super PAC, which he endorsed right around the time it took in a hidden $1 million haul.
Not only do these charges tighten the noose on everyone connected to Paul Manafort, they demonstrate the aggressiveness of New York State prosecutors on crimes that Donald Trump can’t pardon. Those who have been watching all along have predicted this, and now the rest of the country can see the momentum picking up lightning fast. Mueller is also expected to make a new filing in the Manafort case by midnight tonight. Stay tuned.
Chuck is a former community reporter, columnist, and Army veteran