Paul Manafort appeared Thursday afternoon in Manhattan criminal court, the first time he’s appeared in public since being sent to prison in March.
Manafort, 69, looked haggard as he pleaded not-guilty to mortgage fraud charges—dressed in navy blue scrubs with white sneakers and his gray hair long and mussed.
As he walked with a slight limp into the courtroom, flanked by U.S. Marshals, a smirking Manafort barely reacted as someone in the crowd yelled “traitor.”
“Not guilty,” he said into the court microphone, sitting down and handcuffed while the rest of his counsel stood. Todd Blanche, his lawyer, told Judge Maxwell Wiley his client wished to waive his right for pre-trial proceedings.
“We will soon move to dismiss the indictment based upon New York double jeopardy," Blanche, told reporters outside court on Thursday. “In our view, the law of New York does not allow the people to do what they did in this case.”
President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager was sentenced in March to more than seven years in prison stemming from two separate cases brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Minutes after he was sentenced in federal court, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office indicted him on 16 additional charges, including residential mortgage fraud and falsifying business records.
If convicted, Manafort can’t be pardoned by the president for the charges—a notion that Trump has repeatedly floated publicly and Mueller found evidence was suggested privately. Trump does have the power, however, to pardon Manafort for his federal cases.
The state and federal charges do not implicate Manafort’s work for Trump during the election.
“No one is beyond the law in New York,” District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement announcing the charges. “I thank our prosecutors for their meticulous investigation, which has yielded serious criminal charges for which the defendant has not been held accountable.”
Prosecutors allege Manafort illegally obtained “millions of dollars” by lying about the value of several New York apartments and falsifying business records. The indictment contains few details, but it alleges Manafort’s fraud scheme occurred between December 2015 and January 2017.
The indictment came after prosecutors in 2017 began investigating loans Manafort received for properties in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island from two banks. The loans were also called into question during Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and were used to argue some of the federal counts in Virginia.
Manafort’s attorneys previously argued the charges are akin to “double jeopardy,” prosecuting the same person twice for the same crime, in violation of the Constitution’s protection against such cases. They also argued that, under New York law, a person cannot be prosecuted twice unless at least one element of the crimes is distinct and the new allegations address “very different kinds of harm or evil.”
Manafort, who worked for the Trump’s campaign for five months in 2016, was convicted in August 2018 on eight counts of financial-related crimes. During the trial, prosecutors argued Manafort used foreign accounts to hide millions he earned from political consulting work for former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych.
About a month later, Manafort pleaded guilty to 10 other charges in federal court in Washington, D.C. and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation. The federal judge there ruled Manafort violated his plea agreement with the government by repeatedly lying to Mueller’s investigators about his Russian contacts before and after the 2016 election.
Manafort was recently transferred from federal prison in Pennsylvania to the Manhattan Correctional Center. Prosecutors wanted Manafort to transported to New York’s Rikers Island, where most federal inmates facing state charges are held. Instead, the Justice Department told the Bureau of Prisons they were concerned about his “health and personal safety” and argued “the arrangement will not have any impact on his state proceedings.”
Manhattan Correctional Center, which houses about 800 inmates, has been home to high-profile inmates like mob boss John Gotti and Bernie Madoff, who was convicted of orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. The federal correctional center is also currently home to El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug kingpin.
Manafort is expected back in Manhattan criminal court on Oct. 9.