As Hedge Against Trump Pardons, New York Assembly Passes Bill Ending ‘Double Jeopardy’ Loophole
On Tuesday, the New York Assembly passed a bill that ends the “double jeopardy” loophole, meaning state authorities are permitted to prosecute someone even if they obtained a pardon from the president. It passed 90-to-52.
Democrats positioned the legislation as a stance against Donald Trump. Upon its passing, the bill states defendants can be prosecuted twice for similar crimes and it removes protection given to those who receive a presidential pardon. The “double jeopardy” means that a person cannot be charged with or convicted of the same crime twice, although it only takes effect once a jury convened or if the defendant entered a plea.
Speaking with NPR, state Sen. Todd Kaminsky said, “Right now the president’s threatened use of the pardon power is very troubling. It would be done to undermine an investigation to help out friends and family members.” Kaminsky is a former federal prosecutor and was essential in spearheading this bill. “Every day we wait gives the opportunity for the president to undermine the rule of law without New York having the recourse to take action.”
Republican Andy Goodell compared the bill’s passing to that of “a poke in the eye” to Trump. Goodell also challenged how those who received state-level pardons from Cuomo can now be charged. “Isn’t this opening Pandora’s box?” Goodell asked. “This is a two-way street.” It is also worth noting that the bill is not retroactive, meaning Trump campaign alumni Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, who have been tried and entered into plea deals, will not be affected by its passing.
New York’s Senate had passed its own iteration of the bill earlier this month, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised to sign.
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