Donald Trump’s Former Aide, Paul Manafort To Plead Not Guilty In New York

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Paul Manafort led into New York City courtroom

Paul Manafort arrived Thursday afternoon at a New York City courthouse for an arraignment on state mortgage fraud charges.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted of numerous federal crimes last year, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to residential mortgage fraud and other New York state charges, setting the stage for a showdown over whether those charges amount to double jeopardy.

Manafort, 70, appeared before Justice Maxwell Wiley of the state Supreme Court to face an indictment with 16 felony charges disclosed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in March.

Manafort wore blue prison garb and walked with a slight limp into the courtroom. He did not reply after someone in the hallway yelled “traitor.”

The charges include mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying records related to Manafort’s efforts to obtain millions of dollars in loans on New York properties between 2015 and 2017. He served as chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for three months until August 2016.

Blanche said he planned to bring a motion to dismiss the case on double jeopardy grounds, given that the charges center on mortgage applications to two banks that were also at issue in Manafort’s federal trial last year.

Under New York law, a person can only be prosecuted twice for the same act if it meets certain exceptions such as at least one element of the crimes is distinct and the statutes address “very different kinds of harm or evil.” Vance’s office will likely argue an exception to New York’s double jeopardy protections is warranted in Manafort’s case.

Manafort is serving a 7-1/2-year sentence for tax fraud, bank fraud and other charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.