A judge on Wednesday dismissed New York state mortgage fraud charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Judge Maxwell Wiley ruled that state law precludes prosecution. Manafort wasn’t in court for Wiley’s ruling because of a health problem.
Manafort’s lawyers had argued that the state charges should have been dismissed because they involve some of the same allegations as federal cases that have landed Manafort behind bars.
In a hearing that lasted just a few minutes, Wiley said he agreed, announcing his ruling to prosecutors and Manafort’s lawyers. He said a detailed explanation is provided in a written decision, a copy of which has yet to be provided to media.
“Basically, the law of double jeopardy in New York state provides a very narrow window for prosecution,” the judge said.
Wiley noted that prosecutors can appeal decision and likely will.
Lawyer Todd Blanche raised the double jeopardy issue soon after Manafort was arrested, saying that the charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. violated a state law that bars repeat prosecutions for the same general conduct.
Vance’s office has yet to issue a statement on the dismissal.
The development follows reports that Manafort has been hospitalized since last Thursday after suffering a “cardiac event” in prison.
ABC News said the veteran Republican operative is recovering at a Pennsylvania hospital while under the watch of correctional officers and was not in court for today’s ruling. He is expected to be released from the hospital in the coming days.
Manafort was convicted last year on tax, bank fraud, and conspiracy charges as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into now-debunked Trump-Russia collusion and is serving a seven-and-a-half-year jail sentence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.