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Federal Judge Refuses to Dismiss ‘Multiplicitous’ Counts Against Paul Manafort


Paul Manafort, President Trump Campaign Director

A federal judge has refused to dismiss one of two alleged “multiplicitous” counts filed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller against Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump‘s former campaign chair. D.C. Circuit Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued that decision late Friday.

The charges in question alleged that Manafort “made misleading statements in two letters to the Department of Justice.” One of the counts alleged that the statements violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The other count alleged that the statements violated a law which forbids making false statements generally. While the judge noted that that “there is no question that the two counts are based on the exact same set of facts and circumstances,” the legal test for whether the counts are “multiplicitous” is whether the “statutory elements of the two offenses are the same.” Here, the judge said, they were not, and that it was “possible to violate” one law without violating the other (emphasis in original) and, therefore, that the charges were not duplicates of one another.

Manafort unsuccessfully argued that the charges violated the Double Jeopardy Clause of the Constitution and would prejudice a jury against him.

The judge’s order allows Manafort to renew the motion after trial (if he is convicted and seeks an appeal).

Mueller charged Manafort and his underling Rick Gates with a series of crimes, including tax crimes and bank fraud, related to their alleged work as unregistered agents of a foreign government, namely the Ukraine, and with various political figures there. Gates pleaded guilty of conspiracy and of lying to investigators. He is now helping the Mueller investigation.

[Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.