Gov. Cuomo signs legislation closing NY 'double jeopardy' loophole

Andrew Weber
October 16, 2019 - 11:46 am

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Tuesday closing New York’s "double jeopardy" loophole, authorizing the state to prosecute individuals pardoned by the president.

The bill was passed by the state’s Assembly and Senate in May and allows for the prosecution of a person who has been tried for the same crime by the federal government.

The law takes effect immediately and affects all future and past offenses, unless the person has already been tried or entered a plea.

The impetus for the measure occurred after reports that President Donald Trump was considering pardoning Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison term on bank fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy charges.

The president can pardon federal offenses, but not state crimes.

"No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them," Governor Cuomo said in a statement accompanying the signing. "The closure of this egregious loophole gives prosecutors the ability to stand up against any abuse of power, and helps ensure that no politically motivated, self-serving action is sanctioned under law. I thank the Attorney General for her work to advance this much-needed reform and by signing it into law we are taking another step toward a stronger, fairer and more just Empire State for all."

Long Island State Senator Todd Kaminsky, a former federal corruption prosecutor, said, "With the President all but pledging to corruptly abuse his pardon power to allow friends and associates off the hook, it is crucial that we have closed the Double Jeopardy loophole and preserved the rule of law in New York. I commend Attorney General James for her outstanding leadership on this important issue and thank Governor Cuomo for signing this measure to protect New Yorkers' pursuit of justice."

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