If state crimes can’t be pardoned by a president, the New York court system should be ashamed of itself for setting a dangerous precedent by letting Paul Manafort off the hook.

Manafort was found guilty in federal court for committing several felonies after being charged by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller during the course of the Russia investigation. He was sentenced to over seven years in prison but got released to home confinement because of the coronavirus pandemic, a special privilege he should never have received.

In December, disgraced twice impeached former President Donald Trump pardoned Manafort, but the pardon does not extend to violations of state law, leaving Manafort open to prosecution in New York, where Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance charged him with 16 felonies.

But it looks like New York judges are not in the mood for justice to be finally served because the New York Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals have both dismissed the case against Manafort citing double jeopardy laws. Seriously.

It’s bad enough that Manafort was treated with kid gloves by the federal courts despite serious charges stemming from a legitimate investigation. Had Manafort been a person of color instead of a wealthy white man, the judges in his cases would have thrown the book at him and it can be assumed that he would have been tried for the state crimes as well.

This is a miscarriage of justice all the way around that sends the message that anyone with presidential connections can commit all the crimes they want and get away with it by being pardoned. It also sends the message that pardons apparently do cover state crimes.

This nation’s justice system is irretrievably broken and more Americans need to be enraged by it enough to demand change, including holding judges accountable for not doing their jobs. Because you would think Manafort had each and every judge who has been involved in his cases in his pocket the way he’s been able to slither his way out from facing true consequences for so many crimes.

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