Cuomo signs law impacting power of presidential pardons

Law shouldn't impact Chris Collins, who could receive pardon from Trump

Mike Baggerman
October 16, 2019 - 1:04 pm

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday closed a legal loophole in double jeopardy which protects individuals who are pardoned by a president from being prosecuted at the state level for the same offense.

It was initially proposed when President Trump thought about pardoning Paul Manafort, who was convicted of tax evasion, bank fraud, and conspiracy charges as part of Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The law could have an impact on others who are close to President Trump and may face charges in New York.

"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. "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."

The change takes effect immediately. It applies to future and past offenses, provided that person has not already been tried or entered a plea. That means the law will not impact disgraced Congressman Chris Collins, a close ally of Trump's, who plead guilty to insider trading and lying to the FBI on October 1. President Trump has the power to pardon the Collins, though he has not said if he would.

The bill was introduced in the state senate by Todd Kaminsky and in the assembly by Joseph Lentol.

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