NEW YORK – State prosecutors in Manhattan hit Paul Manafort with a new indictment Wednesday, roughly an hour after the disgraced former Trump campaign manager received his latest federal prison term.
Unlike the two federal cases in which Manafort has been sentenced to prison, a conviction on the charges announced by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance would be beyond the reach of any pardon issued by President Donald Trump.
Federal prosecutors have said they suspect Manafort could be angling for a pardon to secure his freedom. The White House has not ruled out the possibility that he could receive one. Asked about the possibility of a pardon at the White House on Wednesday, Trump said he has "not even given it a thought," though added he feels "very badly" for his former campaign chairman.
The 16-count New York indictment alleges that Manafort received more than $1 million by working with unnamed others to willfully submit false financial statements when applying for residential mortgage loans.
The charges include residential mortgage fraud, conspiracy, falsifying business records, and participating in a scheme to defraud. The alleged crimes were committed between December 22, 2015, and approximately March 7, 2016, the indictment charged.
"No one is beyond the law in New York," Vance said in a statement issued with the charges. "Following an investigation commenced by our office in March 2017, a Manhattan grand jury has charged Mr. Manafort with state criminal violations which strike at the heart of New York's sovereign interests, including the integrity of our residential mortgage market."
Manafort's lawyers did not immediately respond to questions about the new charges.
A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced the longtime political operative to a total of 7½ years in federal prison, adding 43 months to the sentence he received in another federal case in Virginia last week.
Manafort had pleaded guilty to two felonies in Washington as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. A federal jury in Virginia separately convicted him of tax and bank fraud charges in a related case.
The pair of prison sentences marked a dramatic downfall for Manafort, who helped guide Trump to the presidency.
Some of the federal charges against Manafort included evidence about New York City properties he bought and the mortgages obtained for the transactions. Vance has legal jurisdiction because at least one of the real estate transactions allegedly involving mortgages issued on the basis of falsified financial information took place in Manhattan.
Vance's office did not immediately respond to a question about whether the new indictment was meant as a way to prevent Manafort from going free if Trump decides to pardon him.
Andrew Weissmann, a member of Mueller’s legal team, told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Feb. 4 that prosecutors thought Manafort, who had promised to cooperate with the Russia investigation, executed an about-face and lied to the prosecutors as a way to "augment his chances for a pardon."
Trump has tweeted praise of Manafort as a “brave man!” and someone who refused to “break” like Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal lawyer, who has provided evidence in at least two criminal probes centered on Trump and denounced his former boss in spectacular testimony before Congress.
However, Trump has declined to comment repeatedly on whether he’s considering a move to spare Manafort from punishment.
I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. “Justice” took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to “break” - make up stories in order to get a “deal.” Such respect for a brave man!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2018
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Monday that Trump "has made his position on that clear, and he'll make a decision when he is ready."
The legal question of defendants can be prosecuted twice for the same offenses – once by federal authorities and once by state law enforcement officials – is a subject in a pending U.S. Supreme Court case. Such dual prosecutions have been authorized under the 1959 "dual sovereignty" exception to the Fifth Amendment's Double Jeopardy clause; the court is considering whether to reverse that position.
A coalition of liberal and conservative justices appeared unlikely to do that when the nation's top court heard oral arguments on the issue in December.
Jansen reported from Washington. Contributing: Richard Wolf and John Fritze
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, just sentenced to federal prison, faces new charges in N.Y. indictment