New York attorney general wants power to bypass Trump pardons

Here’s a new one folks, it seems that the New York Attorney General on Wednesday, asked Governor Andrew Cuomo and state legislators to give him and other local prosecutors power to bring criminal charges against people pardoned by U.S. President Donald Trump.Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s letter urges  Cuomo and legislative leaders to close a loophole in New York’s double jeopardy law shielding recipients of presidential pardons from state prosecution.This change could 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.

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

Schneiderman, a Democrat in his eighth year as attorney general, has made his office a central figure in blue state challenges to Trump, tangling with the Republican president on such matters as consumer finance, the environment, immigration and the 2020 census.

And Democrat Cuomo  is reviewing Schneiderman’s proposal, and believes that the federal legal system should not provide a basis for any wrong doers to escape justice.

Meanwhile State Senator Todd Kaminsky, also a Democrat, tweeted a plan to introduce a bill closing the loophole.

It’s not known if a revised law can make it through the state senate, which is closely divided between Republicans and Democrats. The office of Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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

Should they succeed in closing the 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 more than 20 states provide defendants only the minimum required protection against double jeopardy.