New York Attorney General Wants To Weaken Trump's Pardon Power

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman outlined a bold proposal Wednesday to undermine President Donald Trump's pardon power and his ability to save himself and his associates from criminal prosecution.

The plan, detailed in a letter to lawmakers, involves changing the state law to allow prosecutors to charge people for crimes, even if they have already faced charges for the same action at the federal level. This would potentially give state-level prosecutors the ability to charge people Trump has pardoned for federal crimes.

Under current New York law, double jeopardy statutes prevent the government from charging a person with crimes more than once. This means that if someone were charged and acquitted of say, money laundering, in a federal court, New York prosecutors could not then try to prosecute the person for the exact same crime.

This may be relevant to the case of Trump's attorney Michael Cohen. Cohen is currently under investigation by the office of the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York. If he were charged with a federal crime, but Trump pardoned him, New York could not try him again for the same criminal acts.

Schneiderman's proposal would change that. So if Cohen were pardoned of a federal crime by Trump, and that crime also violated state laws, New York prosecutors could bring those charges as well. And since the president does not have the authority to pardon state crimes, Cohen, or anyone else who committed crimes in the state of New York, would still face legal jeopardy.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.