The report in The New York Times that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort would be transferred to RIKERS ISLAND, a notorious maximum-security prison considered to be one of the very worst in the U.S., to await trial on state charges in New York came out on June 4. But since then, it’s been challenging to find out the status of his case.

Reporters love to break stories, but they can be terrible on follow-up. We never saw any reports of his actual transfer, which was originally scheduled, I think, for the Thursday following the announcement and surely would have made big news. Yet we didn't hear about any efforts being made to keep him out of there, either. It all must have been played very close to the vest.

But finally, this Monday, the NYT reported some heartening news (not heartening to the NYT, I’m sure, but definitely to us): that deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen had written to Manhattan prosecutors last week concerning the transfer, and also that federal prison officials had informed the Manhattan district attorney’s office that Manafort would NOT be moving to Rikers, so there. State prison officials had been planning to hold him in isolation there.

Manafort is currently being held in a minimum-security Pennsylvania prison, the type of facility nonviolent offenders typically go, serving a 7-1/2 year sentence that came with the plea deal he made last September. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to his work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine, including failure to disclose income and to also register as an agent for a foreign entity (a law that many lobbyists have violated and not been prosecuted for). The special counsel team was very much involved in his prosecution, even though the charges had nothing to do with whether or not the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia. (When the Mueller report came out, there was no case for “collusion”/conspiracy on the part of Trump or any other American he investigated.)

 


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But now, in New York State, Manafort is facing 16 felony counts, including residential mortgage fraud. We’ve learned that members of the Mueller team were involved in bringing these state charges as well. More on that below, as another breaking story, a decision from the Supreme Court, bears on New York’s ability to charge him at the state level –- and it doesn’t look good for him. 

According to the NYT, he’ll likely continue to be held in Pennsylvania, but it’s possible that while awaiting trial, he’ll be held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. That’s got to be much more appropriate than Rikers, which is a hellish nightmare of a place, where conditions are such that someone like Manafort, a nonviolent, 70-year-old man in poor health and confined to a wheelchair, might not survive the first day.

“Highly unusual” but “not inappropriate” was how top Justice Department officials described this move to stop Manafort’s transfer. I would say that if this is highly unusual, the same could be said of the circumstances. For a nonviolent offender to be sent to a place like that even before being convicted of anything is a travesty. This decision was made not in the name of justice, but in the name of politics. Manafort is collateral damage in an effort to get President Trump. That’s not supposed to happen in this country.

Manafort has been convicted of crimes, and I’m not defending what he did. At the same time, it sure looks like a case of selective prosecution. The judge in his federal case was not born yesterday; he knew what was going on in his courtroom and even remarked about prosecutors who try to get defendants to “sing” or “compose,” meaning, in this case, against the President. Apparently, Manafort still hasn’t done any singing or composing, which would explain the attempted transfer to Rikers, where he would have been held in cruel isolation for 23 hours out of every 24.

Ex-cons who have been held this way will tell you: It’s soulless. It’s torture. It breaks you. (In fact, that’s the idea.) As for the claims that isolation was “for his own protection,” they’d say that’s bunk –- that “PC,” or “protective custody,” really doesn’t protect anyone who’s been targeted by someone determined to get at him.

As we’ve discussed before, President Trump has the authority to pardon Manafort at any time for his federal convictions. (Of course, if he had done this before the special counsel report was issued, his political enemies would have screamed “Obstruction!!”) But he has no such authority to pardon for state crimes. As the theory goes, that’s why state prosecutors went after Manafort even though he was already convicted and imprisoned: it was to keep him out of reach of Trump’s pardon. Not that Trump has even said he’d pardon Manafort; this is a preemptive show of power by his political enemies in New York.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/448997-justice-department-intervenes-keeps-manafort-from-being-sent-to

 


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Now, at this point, one might be asking: if Manafort has already taken a plea deal that dispensed with the charges New York now wants to prosecute him for, isn’t that double jeopardy, which is unconstitutional? One might think it was, especially since BOTH cases against Manafort stem from the special counsel investigation and involve an overlapping cast of characters. But according to a 7-2 Supreme Court decision handed down today, the federal government and any given state government constitute two separate entities; this so-called “dual sovereign” doctrine was left in place. Translation: SCOTUS has ruled that separate federal and state charges for the same offense do not constitute double jeopardy.

The case the justices looked at was that of Terance Gamble of Alabama, who was prosecuted for the same gun offense in both federal and state courts. SCOTUS ruled that he did not face double jeopardy. So what about Manafort? The state charges he now faces “echo” those he faced in federal court but that were dealt with as part of his guilty plea. This begs the question, so what good is a plea deal, anyway?

It’s interesting that the two dissenters were Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Neil Gorsuch, two justices with quite different judicial philosophies. According to Ginsberg, the separate sets of rights for each form of government (state and federal) were intended to secure the rights of the people, not to allow the further prosecution of crimes. And Gorsuch articulated something with which Manafort’s attorneys would surely concur: that a “free society does not allow its government to try the same individual for the same crime until it’s happy with the result,” and also that the dual sovereign doctrine “finds no meaningful support in the text of the Constitution, its original public meaning, structure, or history.”

As reported by THE HILL, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance waited mere moments after Manafort was sentenced in federal court to reveal his state-level indictment for mortgage fraud. Recall that Cyrus Vance is the illustrious prosecutor who called for Manafort to be transferred to Rikers Island. This tells us all we need to know about Cyrus Vance, along with the whole consortium of prosecutorial scum who have been using Manafort to wage war against Trump.

https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/448874-supreme-court-rules-against-convict-over-double-jeopardy-claims

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Comments 1-25 of 29

  • Marlene Glidden

    06/19/2019 07:39 PM

    This man should never be sent to that hell Hole

  • William Schlumpf

    06/19/2019 12:31 PM

    Holding back the state charges until after the plea deal with the federal charges is deception on the part of Vance, perhaps with the willing participation of Mueller. Collusion? Interesting that the department of justice and state and local prosecutors are entrusted to uncover and prosecute deceptive practices not to engage in them against the citizen.

  • Elizabeth Honaker

    06/19/2019 11:44 AM

    Thank the Lord that this latest "cruel and unusual punishment" was not inflicted on this man! Judge Gorsuch is EXACTLY right in his comment! A spirit of revenge runs rampant in New York: The elites want to thoroughly kill children who are under their protection, and they delight in crushing those who have angered them in some way. This city was once the capital of the United States, and stood for "truth, justice, and the American way." No longer. Satan has taken over.

  • Geoffrey max mordecai spiro

    06/19/2019 10:41 AM

    Thank you for studying this issue. The President likes Mr Manafort and for this reason the haters are out to make an example of him. Food for thought. How we deal with this is vital.

  • kevin cooper

    06/19/2019 09:52 AM

    President Trump probably will not be able to "drain the swamp" on his own , but he can shed more light on all the injustices that occur regularly in our day to day government actions. YEAY!

  • Thomas Getman

    06/19/2019 08:21 AM

    Rivers Island is not a state operated facility but a local jail for the New York City area. While I’m sure it has a segregated area with single cells, it is not a maximum security prison.

  • Lynn Taylor

    06/19/2019 07:03 AM

    Shameful events that could happen to any US citizen if these prosecutors get away with continued cruelty and punishment to Manafort and not to all others who could be charged. Selective prosecution for political gains should never be allowed in our great country. I’m praying for Mr Manafort for equal justice under the law from our judicial courts.

  • Sarah Ellington

    06/19/2019 07:01 AM

    I’m pleased that he’s not going to Rivers. I have been astounded with the treatment Manafort has received...months in solitary. It is evident this treatment is because of leftist liberals. I believe in rule of law. I believe Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted. It has been a great eye opener at the length the FBI goes to to GET someone. I fear for the direction Democrats take us. I don’t understand why others don’t see this. I believe the DNPmis the biggest threat to our country.

  • Kevin J Cook

    06/18/2019 11:10 PM

    It’s no exaggeration that the democrats are as brutal and insane as Muslim mullahs and third world dictators

  • Sherry Stone

    06/18/2019 09:33 PM

    I think it’s terrible the way that man has been treated. I think that the President should pardon everyone that Mueller went after. Especially General Flynn. Hillary has done far worse and she hasn’t been prosecuted for anything.

  • Thomas R Sprenger

    06/18/2019 09:28 PM

    This is nothing new. It all started under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He tried to pack the Supreme Court to get his own way. It is time to start the withholding of money for spending in New York and California. Money buys things. The withhold of money will get the attention of businesses that depend on sales to get the money to survive and profit. The liberals depend on money to pass out and pay for gifts (so called benefits) to the class of folks who do nothing in exchange for the freebies they receive. No business can survive without money and are give away politicians can not either. Do you hear me?

  • Renee Storms

    06/18/2019 09:14 PM

    Governor Huckabee, I have been praying fervently (and I am sure others have felt so lead) for this man, that God would intervene in some way or form to keep him from Rykers and the evil maneuvers involved to try to get him into that place.. I attribute what has happened to God bringing this to pass through the individuals that he has so moved. We can thank the Lord that evil did not get its way!! Thank you, Lord.

  • Nancy L. Emmons

    06/18/2019 07:22 PM

    Mark Levin recently had as his guest John Mirini, a Claremont Institute Fellow. As he spoke, I kept thinking what a tragedy for America that it’s not ruled by the constitution but rather by mob rule. It seems the current Democrat party is, if fact, a mob. When Pelosi says jump, they ask how high rather than using integrity in how they vote.

  • Tony Weaver

    06/18/2019 06:06 PM

    If I were on the jury, I would vote not guilty for reason of double jeopardy

    I miss the presidential quotes. Also, I few from Ben Franklin would be good to
    Grace Grace
    Tony

  • Kevin Cook

    06/18/2019 05:03 PM

    What Democrats are doing to Mr. Manafort should scare to death every clear thinking and freedom loving American. The Democrats are more brutal than most dictators in the world. Democrats owe Chavez, Castro, Maduro, Kim Jung Un and every Muslim dictator an apology for condemning their brutality. Wake up Democrats, you have joined and support a satanic and very dangerous mafia.

  • Linda Cagle

    06/18/2019 04:24 PM

    My only question is - when, if ever, will we see Hillary Clinton in prison because of everything she has done that is obviously illegal?

  • Firewagon

    06/18/2019 04:05 PM

    When anarchy reigns because this sham of "Equal Justice for All" has perverted any sense "We The Serfs" will experience true "Justice," those thinking they are untouchable will rue the day they went this far!

    As for me, I'm pretty oldt, and would not be spending any of my paltry grandchildren's inheritance paying some lawyer to keep me out of jail. More, any attempt to pull some "No Knock" entry into my adobe to arrest me would NOT go well - I'm not into getting arrested, especially when, like a couple people caught up in the "Get Trump" saga, I'm not believing I'm guilty of anything! Can we just say, I already have NO CONFIDENCE in 'this' justice system....

  • Barbara Kaufer

    06/18/2019 03:59 PM

    yes Manafort committed crimes, but because he didn't fold on Trump in my opinion ius why they decided to give him the harshest punishment, no doubt in my mind this DA is corrupt, this whole thing stinks and needs to be investigated.

  • Judith Miller

    06/18/2019 03:31 PM

    This is NOT justice - it's revenge and hatred!!

  • Amelia Little

    06/18/2019 02:29 PM

    Thank God!!! For the life of me, why anyone would get away with treating Paul Manafort in the manner he has been subjected to so far? What other defendant in especially a white collar crime has been held in solitary confinement for months on end while "the courts" mosey about scheduling a trial? For Pete's sake, drug dealers aren't even subjected to this garbage. There is NO REASON he could not have been held on freaking house arrest. I don't think he was even considered a flight risk. It was plain and simple turning the screws even then, for him to "give them SOMETHING, ANYTHING" to hang their hats on to remove Donald Trump from office. I still think that all the players on the left who have emerged as the real conspirators, colluders, obstructionists, etc--should be descended upon in their homes in the early morning hours, with guns drawn, herded to a closet to remain while the entire house is searched. While, of course, simultaneously searching ALL offices, hotel rooms, offices of co-workers and subordinates.

  • Jerry Korba

    06/18/2019 02:20 PM

    Looks like the respected Mueller that was trusted by our members of Congress, tells me that most of the members are as unethical as Mueller himself the special counsel was rigged by Congress as his report was by Mueller. Everyone involved with that decision to hire Mueller should get the same Justice as Manafort is getting today including Mueller himself this entire Russian Collusion had decay from the beginning and we have a rotten mess on our hands. I am ashamed of this Congress and embarrassed to have to fund such fraud I had very little confidence in this Congress to begin with I now have none what a stain this entity has put on its citizens Our Military personnel I am sure are grateful for the honesty and dignity the members of Congress have given; this is how they give thanks to the people who lie in Flanders Field the men and women who served to protect our freedom and the Congress and Mueller crap all over them thanks Congress you disgraced most of America.....and continue to do so!!!!! I have commented from the start Mueller is no good and remains no good.

  • Thomas Joseph Hussman

    06/18/2019 01:20 PM

    Let the Riker's Island/Manafort discussion serve as the beginning of a much larger discussion to begin to solve the prison problems in America. American courts jail too many people. America's prosecutors make horrific mistakes sending innocent people to prisons. Many employees in the jails and prisons are psychopathic thieves and sex criminals themselves. Incarceration is necessary, but America has failed at it. Alternative punishment methods are the answer. Punishment for perjury prone prosecutors is sorely needed. In short - It is the ugliest problem in America today: Putting innocent people in jail.

  • Vic T

    06/18/2019 12:53 PM

    The leftist Democrats are still trying to intimidate and coerce Mr Manafort into
    Saying what they want him to say. They are morally bankrupt when it comes to any action to use against President Trump.

  • LouiseCA

    06/18/2019 12:53 PM

    To think that an American citizen can be used as a political punching bag and virtually stripped of his rights by vindictive and corrupt enemies of the President simply because of their own political bias, is simply terrifying. No one condones what Manafort actually did do wrong, but when did overkill for the sake of a political agenda become okay in the United States of America?

  • Dawn Street

    06/18/2019 12:39 PM

    What a tragedy. I didn't think you could be tried twice for the same crime. Wow! Did not know that even if you were exonerated in Federal Court, or in this case had a plea deal, that the State could still try you for that crime.

    And to send a nonviolent man to Rikers to await trial, especially one at age 70 and confined to a wheelchair, is definitely overkill/over reach!