Manhattan district attorney preparing charges against Manafort -source

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Feb
23

(Reuters) – The Manhattan district attorney’s office is pursuing criminal charges against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, whether or not Trump pardons him for his federal convictions, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The charges originate from unpaid state taxes and likely are also related to loans, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the charges have not been filed.

Manafort, 69, was convicted in a federal court last August of bank and tax fraud and pleaded guilty in a parallel criminal case in Washington. He will be sentenced next month and could be sent to prison for a decade or more.

The New York Times reported earlier on Friday that a grand jury was hearing evidence and that District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who began investigating Manafort in 2017, was planning to bring charges.

Manafort is one of the first people in Trump’s orbit to face criminal charges stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Both Trump and Russia have denied any election meddling.

A U.S. president can issue pardons for federal cases only, and Manafort could still face prison if found guilty of any state charges. There are strict provisions in the U.S. Constitution against “double jeopardy,” with the Fifth Amendment saying a person cannot be tried multiple times for the same alleged crime.

Some of Manafort’s New York property loans have also been investigated by Vance, sources have told Reuters. The local prosecutor issued subpoenas last year to lenders, including Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, a small bank that provided millions in loans to Manafort, Reuters reported last year.

A spokesman for Vance declined to comment.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York and Lisa Lambert in Washington; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Dan Grebler

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