New York prosecutor reportedly preparing to charge criminal ex-Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort whether or not president pardons him

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort departs from U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2018. | Yuri Gripas | Reuters

New York authorities reportedly are preparing to criminally charge convicted tax cheat and bank fraudster Paul Manafort whether or not President Donald Trump pardons his ex-campaign chief.

A presidential pardon would not protect Manafort, who is awaiting sentencing for a slew of federal crimes, from state-filed criminal charges.

Trump has previously criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s cases against Manafort, whom the president has called “a brave man!” on Twitter.

Bloomberg News first reported Friday that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is ready to file tax and other charges against Manafort, including possibly ones related to laws requiring the keeping of accurate business records, in the event that Trump pardons him.

The New York Times soon after published its own article, saying that Vance is expected to seek charges against Manafort regardless of whether he is pardoned by the president.

Manafort, 69, is due to be sentenced in two separate federal criminal cases next month, in Virginia and in Washington, D.C., for crimes related to money he earned advising pro-Russia politicians in Ukraine in the years before he joined Trump’s campaign for several months in 2016.

The longtime Republican operative could be sentenced to two or more decades in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Mueller accused him in late 2018 of violating a plea deal that required him to be truthful in his sharing of information with the special counsel’s office. As a result, Mueller is no longer required to recommend leniency for Manafort at his sentencings.

Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, declined to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Both the White House and a spokesman for Vance had no immediate comment.

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