WASHINGTON – Less than an hour after a federal judge in Washington, DC, handed down Paul Manafort's latest sentence out of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced that a grand jury had indicted Manafort on 16 new state charges.
The new charges out of New York came as Manafort prepares to spend nearly seven years in prison after he was convicted of, and pleaded guilty to, a series of financial and other crimes brought by the special counsel's office. The New York case concerns allegations of fraud that were included in one of Mueller's cases against Manafort — in federal court in Virginia — but the indictment accuses him of different violations of state law.
Vance reportedly has been concerned about the possibility of President Donald Trump issuing a pardon to Manafort. A presidential pardon can only apply to federal crimes, so Trump would not be able to help his former campaign chair if Manafort were convicted in a state court.
Speaking with reporters Wednesday after Manafort's sentencing hearing in DC, Trump said he had "not thought about" a pardon for Manafort, according to a pool report.
"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort. I think it's a very sad situation. And I saw that just a little while ago. And certainly on a human basis, it's a very sad thing," Trump said.
A spokesperson for Manafort did not immediately return a request for comment.
In the new indictment, Manafort is accused of submitting false information in connection with loan applications and committing other fraud between December 2015 and January 2017. He faces 16 counts, for mortgage fraud, conspiracy, and falsifying business records.
Vance said in a statement that his office began its investigation into Manafort in March 2017. The New York investigation ran parallel to Mueller's investigation — a federal grand jury indicted Manafort in Washington, DC, in October 2017, and then the Virginia grand jury indicted him in February 2018.
"No one is beyond the law in New York," Vance said. "I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable."
The indictment refers to evidence that Mueller's office presented at trial in Virginia last summer about allegations of bank fraud. The New York indictment cites an email that Manafort sent to his son-in-law in January 2016 when an appraiser was coming to view a property he owned on Howard Street in New York City. In the email, Manafort wrote that the appraiser believed his son-in-law and Manafort's daughter were living in the home. The New York indictment doesn't spell out the significance of that email, but prosecutors in the Virginia case said that the property was being used as a rental, and Manafort was lying to get a more favorable appraisal for a loan application.
The jury in Virginia found Manafort guilty of committing bank fraud with respect to the Howard Street property. It was not immediately clear from charging papers what other properties are at issue in the New York case.
The New York indictment also refers to Manafort's purchase of season tickets to the New York Yankees in 2016. The charging papers refer to a letter that Manafort asked an unnamed person referred to as "Individual #6" to sign saying that person had used Manafort's credit card to buy the tickets. At the Virginia trial, prosecutors presented evidence that this letter was signed by Manafort's former right-hand man, Rick Gates, and Gates testified that the letter's contents were false — that Manafort came up with the letter to ease a bank's concerns about his credit card debt while he was applying for a loan.
After his conviction in Virginia, Manafort entered into a plea deal with Mueller's office in his DC case. US District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Virginia sentenced Manafort last week to 47 months in prison, and on Wednesday US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced him to an additional 43 months. With credit for time served, Manafort will end up spending approximately another 81 months — just under seven years — in prison for his federal crimes.
Jackson announced her sentence shortly after noon on Wednesday. Vance's office sent an email to reporters time-stamped at 12:40 p.m. announcing the new indictment.