Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleads not guilty to fraud charges in NY

Paul Manafort arrives in court, Thursday, June 27, 2019 in New York.

Combined ShapeCaption
Paul Manafort arrives in court, Thursday, June 27, 2019 in New York.

President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, pleaded not guilty Thursday to mortgage fraud and other charges leveled against him by state prosecutors in New York.

>> Read more trending news

Manafort appeared Thursday afternoon in New York State Supreme Court to enter his plea. He wore a blue jail uniform, white shoes and handcuffs, according to The New York Times and The Associated Press. He walked with a slight limp as court officers escorted him to and from the courtroom, the AP reported.

Earlier this year, Manafort's attorneys said that for several months he had severe gout that sometimes required him to use a wheelchair during his incarceration.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced the state charges against Manafort in March, a short while after a federal judge in Virginia sentenced him to serve 7 1/2 years in prison for conspiring against the United States and conspiracy to launder money. If he’s convicted in a state court, Manafort would be ineligible to have those crimes pardoned by Trump.

The charges brought against Manafort in both state and federal court do not touch on work he did for Trump.

Manafort is facing state charges of mortgage fraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records in connection to his efforts to get millions of dollars in loans between 2015 and 2017, according to the 16-count indictment handed down in March.

>> Read the indictment

Manafort's attorney, Todd Blanche, told Reuters that he plans to argue that the case should be dismissed on the grounds of double jeopardy, as the New York charges are centered on mortgage applications to a pair of banks that were also scrutinized in Manafort's federal trial last year.

Manhattan prosecutors contend their case is safe from a double-jeopardy challenge because mortgage fraud and falsifying business records are state crimes, but not federal crimes.

Manafort served three months as Trump’s campaign chair during the 2016 presidential election, from June to August 2016, before he was forced to resign amid reports that his firm was involved with covert lobbying in support of a pro-Russian political party in the Ukraine.

The president told reporters in March that he felt "very badly for Paul Manafort," but he said he hadn't considered pardoning his short-lived campaign chairman.

New York currently has strong double jeopardy protections, but in May state lawmakers passed a bill meant to ensure that state prosecutors could pursue charges against anyone granted a presidential pardon for similar federal crimes. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo supported the legislation but has yet to sign it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author