Over the last several days, many pundits have speculated as to whether President Donald Trump plans to pardon his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, now that Manafort’s plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller is off the table.
But Fox contributor and Judge Andrew Napolitano just put most of that concern to rest, saying that if Manafort is tried in state court, “the president can’t pardon for that.”
The judge brought up some points that opened up a lot of people’s eyes to Mueller’s likely strategy.
According to reports, the plea deal was shredded because Manafort allegedly lied to federal investigators.
Mueller apparently had information regarding certain events that led him to believe Manafort was not being completely truthful.
While Manafort’s future in regard to Mueller is not exactly clear, his future in the state court seems pretty bleak.
But this may have been Mueller’s strategy all along.
If Trump pardons Manafort, the president will face significant political backlash — but Manafort will still end up going to prison.
Trump Can’t Touch This
Even if Trump were to pardon Manafort for a federal sentence, Manafort will have to face whatever the states deal out.
The president’s pardon powers may be “absolute,” as Napolitano stated, but it means nothing in the state courts.
Manafort is currently facing charges for bank fraud in several states as well as with the federal government.
If found guilty, he may literally never see the light of day again.
“He hasn’t been charged, but I think he would be charged immediately,” the judge said, “would be indicted immediately by a grand jury sitting in those states.”
Since Manafort has already issued a guilty plea on the charges in federal court, the state cases would more or less be open and shut.
One way or another, the bottom line here is that Manafort will likely end up in jail at some point.
The only real question is if it will be a federal or state prison.