Home / United States / The Supreme Court decision harms Paul Manafort as he fights against the state

The Supreme Court decision harms Paul Manafort as he fights against the state

A Supreme Court decision in the case of an Alabama man who pleaded guilty to a firearm charge could have major consequences on the not-in-custody case. tied with a white collar against former Trump campaign director, Paul Manafort, in New York – keeping him exposed to other leaders, even though he eventually gets a presidential pardon.

The dispute in Alabama was to determine whether the "doctrine of dual sovereignty" – which allows a person to face federal and state charges for the same offense – violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that this was not the case.

"Although the rule of double sovereignty is often referred to as" exception "to the right to double criminality, this is not an exception at all", wrote Judge Samuel Alito in his opinion. "On the contrary, it follows from the text that defines this right in the first place."


New York prosecutors have the opportunity to continue their case against Manafort, who has already been convicted of crimes under federal law, including bank and tax fraud. If the court ruled in the opposite direction Monday in the Gamble v. United States and had eliminated the doctrine of double sovereignty, a grace of President Trump would have left Manafort free and clear.

But with the doctrine still in place, the case of New York complicates matters since the presidential pardon only concerns federal affairs, not state ones.

"No one is beyond the law in New York," said Cy Vance, District Attorney for Manhattan, at the announcement of the indictment. Manafort faces 16 counts in this indictment, including conspiracy, residential mortgage fraud and falsification of professional documents. The charges are based on allegations similar to those related to his federal convictions.

Earlier this month, a judge agreed to transfer Manafort from his federal prison in Pennsylvania to the infamous Rikers Island, New York, pending trial.

The Gamble case involved a man who had been convicted of possession of firearms by the state following a plea of ​​guilty and then charged by the federal court with the same possession. He also pleaded guilty in this case solely to appeal the argument that the charge laid by the federal government constituted double jeopardy.

Alito explained that the Double Jeopardy clause prohibits multiple prosecutions for the same "offense", but "an" offense "is defined by law and each law is defined by a ruler." Therefore, said Alito, "where there are two sovereigns, there are two laws and two" offenses ".

Judges Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Brett Kavanaugh, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, joined Alito's opinion.

Judges Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil Gorsuch each wrote dissenting opinions, marking the latest case in which Gorsuch and Kavanaugh – both appointed by Trump – opposed. Ginsburg felt that the Double Jeopardy clause prohibited "successive prosecutions by parts of the United States as a whole," noting that the United States and individual states "made up a single people, bound by a federal constitution. casting ".

Gorsuch has evoked historical interpretations, including those that had been adopted during the adoption of the Fifth Amendment in 1791, which "suggested that a prosecution in court, as long as the court had jurisdiction over it. offense, was sufficient to prevent future reprisals in another court ".


Conservative justice has protested against the idea that a person in the United States should be allowed to be prosecuted for the same thing in two separate cases.

"A free society does not allow its government to try the same individual for the same crime until he is satisfied with the result," he said.

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