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Fears of pardon for Manafort spark push to change NY law

March 13, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this file photo taken on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. Russian state television stations have jumped at what they perceive as a relatively mild sentence handed to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saying it is proof that U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigations have failed to prove Trump's collusion with Russia. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
FILE - In this file photo taken on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, leaves the federal courthouse in Washington. Russian state television stations have jumped at what they perceive as a relatively mild sentence handed to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, saying it is proof that U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigations have failed to prove Trump's collusion with Russia. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York lawmakers say they will work quickly to close a loophole in state law to ensure anyone pardoned by President Donald Trump may still be charged in state court.

The change is proposed by Democratic state Attorney General Tish James. It aims to alter the state’s double jeopardy law. Prosecutors have warned a loophole could allow defendants with a presidential pardon in federal crimes to argue they can’t be charged with similar state crimes.

The push took on new significance Wednesday when New York City prosecutors announced state charges against ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has already been convicted of federal crimes. Critics of the Republican president say the state’s case is needed in case Trump pardons Manafort.

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James says the Democrat-led Senate and Assembly should approve the change in coming weeks.