New York Attorney General Wants to Bring Criminal Charges Against People Pardoned by Trump

On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislators received a request from New York’s attorney general where he asked that he and other local prosecutors be given the power to bring criminal charges against people pardoned by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Reuters reported that Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged Cuomo and legislative leaders in a letter to close a loophole in New York’s double jeopardy law shielding recipients of presidential pardons from state prosecution.

This change in state law is meant to make it more difficult for Trump aides and others who might be pardoned to escape criminal prosecution, even if special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election were curbed or shut down.

Schneiderman said that “the President has no constitutional power to pardon state crimes, the current law means defendants pardoned for serious federal crimes could be freed from all accountability under state criminal law.”

According to Reuters, Schneiderman, who is a known Democrat and has occupied the position of New York attorney general for eight years now, is challenging Trump on matters such as consumer finance, the environment, immigration and the 2020 census.

The White House declined to comment.

Cuomo is still reviewing Schneiderman’s proposal, and “believes that the federal legal system should not provide a basis for any wrongdoers to escape justice,” press secretary Dani Lever said in a statement. Democratic State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, “we will take a close look” at the “serious” issue, and State Senator Todd Kaminsky, also a Democrat, tweeted a plan to introduce a bill closing the loophole.

Double jeopardy laws prevent people from being tried twice for the same crime.

“By closing New York’s double jeopardy loophole, lawmakers can ensure that no one accused of breaking New York’s laws will escape accountability merely because of a strategically-timed presidential pardon,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

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