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Spectator Yells ‘Traitor’ as Paul Manafort Is Escorted to Court for Arraignment on State Charges


An onlooker in a Manhattan Criminal Court hallway seized the opportunity on Thursday to call former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort a “traitor” as Manafort was escorted to his arraignment on state fraud charges. It’s not the first time someone has done this.

A noticeably grayer Manafort, decked out in prison garb, can be seen marching toward court, where he was arraigned this afternoon on numerous alleged fraud offenses. Manafort pleaded not guilty to these charges. His lawyers will likely fight the charges on double jeopardy grounds, but a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision may seriously complicate that effort.

Manafort, who has already been convicted twice for federal crimes, was also charged in Manhattan by District Attorney Cy Vance. Vance recently requested that Manafort be moved to Rikers Island, but the Department of Justice intervened to prevent that from happening. A DOJ official cited Manafort’s “unique health and safety needs.” Manafort was still moved to New York City.

In August 2018, Manafort was found guilty of tax fraud, bank fraud, and failure to disclose a foreign bank account. Manafort was then scheduled to be tried on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States in Washington, D.C. for failing to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, witness tampering, and making false statements in September 2018.

Manafort decided to plead guilty and cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation, so there was not a second trial. Prosecutors said, however, that Manafort breached that cooperation agreement by lying. Mueller said that Manafort breached his plea agreement in “numerous ways by lying to the FBI and Special Counsel’s Office.” Mueller said Manafort lied about “interactions with” Ukrainian lobbying associate and suspected Russian spy Konstantin Kilimnik, lied about a “wire-transfer to a firm that was working for Manafort,” lied about “information pertinent to another Department of Justice investigation” and lied about “his contact with [Trump] Administration officials.”

Manafort came up again in the news last week when the judge in his D.C. case unsealed his private communications with Fox News host Sean Hannity. One of many exchanges that raised eyebrows:

Manafort: They would want me to give up DT or family, esp JK. I would never do that.

Hannity: Understand. There is nothing to give up on DT. What did JK do?

Manafort: Nothin, just like i did nothing. They will want me to make up shit on both.

Manafort’s EDVA and D.C. sentences added up to 7 1/2 years of federal prison time, prison time he is currently serving out.

After Manafort was convicted in Washington, D.C. back in March, Vance indicted Manafort on state charges, including: three counts of residential mortgage fraud in the first degree; one count of attempted first-degree residential mortgage fraud; three counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree; eight counts of falsifying business records in the first degree; and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. The state charges from Vance were seen as a back-up plan in the event that President Donald Trump decided to pardon Manafort, as presidential pardon powers do not extend to state charges.

[Image via Twitter/screengrab]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.