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Manhattan Judge Dismisses Paul Manafort Mortgage Fraud Case

The mortgage fraud case against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort has been dismissed, according to Law360. Manhattan, New York Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley threw out the indictment on Wednesday morning, which charged Manafort with residential mortgage fraud, attempted residential mortgage fraud, scheme to defraud, conspiracy and falsifying business records, Law360 reports.

Manafort had pled not guilty to the charges in June, and in September, his attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case, which accuses him of plotting and executing a mortgage fraud in New York “to illegally obtain millions of dollars,” according to prosecutors.

His lawyers argued that the indictment was “politically charged” and an "improper attempt at successive prosecutions"

“This is politics at its worst, and while we expect that Mr. Manafort’s rights ultimately will be vindicated in this case, he should not be further punished in the interim through pre-trial detention on Rikers Island,” Manafort's attorney, Todd Blanche of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP wrote in the May letter, in which he also previewed his double jeopardy defense.

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office said an appeal would be forthcoming.

"We will appeal today's decision and will continue working to ensure that Mr. Manafort is held accountable for the criminal conduct against the people of New York that is alleged in the indictment," Manhattan DA spokesman Danny Frost said.

Manafort is currently serving a 7½ year federal prison term for two separate convictions: in Washington, D.C., for obstruction and unsanctioned lobbying work, and in Virginia for bank and tax fraud.

In a written order, Judge Wiley said in order to qualify for an exception to New York's "relatively broad statutory protection against double jeopardy," prosecutors needed to show that each offense contains a different element, and that the statutory provisions defining the offense are designed to prevent "very different kinds of harm or evil."

While the government has shown the federal and state charges contain different elements, Judge Wiley said their aims are too similar to warrant an exception to the protection against double jeopardy.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.

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