Judge to rule on ex-Trump aide Manafort’s bid to dismiss New York fraud charges


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Paul Manafort, former campaign chairman for U.S. President Donald Trump, is expected to learn on Wednesday whether he must face New York state charges of residential mortgage fraud and other crimes, after arguing that his indictment illegally subjected him to being prosecuted twice for the same crime.

Justice Maxwell Wiley is expected to rule on Manafort’s bid to dismiss the indictment at a hearing in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

Manafort was not expected to attend the hearing, after being hospitalized last week for what his lawyer on Tuesday characterized as a cardiac incident.

The 70-year-old Manafort is serving a 7-1/2-year sentence at a federal prison in Pennsylvania for tax fraud, bank fraud and other charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Manafort had pleaded not guilty in June to the 16 felony count indictment announced three months earlier by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The charges focus on Manafort’s alleged efforts to obtain millions of dollars in real estate loans, centering on mortgage applications to three banks involving properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons and California.

These loans underlay some of the federal case against Manafort in Virginia that led to his prison sentence, and Manafort has argued that the U.S. Constitution and New York state law forbade the state prosecution on double jeopardy grounds.

Mueller’s team had accused Manafort of hiding $16 million from U.S. tax authorities that he earned as a consultant for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, and then lying to banks to obtain loans and maintain a luxurious lifestyle.

Manafort could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on the most serious state charges.

The case has been widely viewed as an attempt to ensure that Manafort spends a long time in prison even if Trump pardons him.

Trump can pardon people for federal crimes, but not state crimes.

Manafort had worked on Trump’s White House campaign for five months in 2016.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by David Gregorio