State lawmakers in New York are working on amending legislation to expand the scope of power granted to prosecutors pursuing charges against individuals who receive a presidential pardon. Under current statutes, a person who receives a presidential pardon for federal crimes may be exempt from prosecution of state laws as well.
Proponents of the change argue that current law impedes the ability of prosecutors in New York to uphold state law, pointing to recent developments surrounding the team of advisors and campaign staff to the Trump administration who face potential jail time for allegedly violating a host of financial regulations. Many in the industry expect President Trump to pardon one or more of the individuals accused of crimes related to his campaign, creating an interesting legal dilemma.
Expanding already broad power
If the bill passes, it will effectively close a loophole in the current law that may allow individuals who might otherwise face significant legal consequences in New York unqualified freedom if they receive a presidential pardon.
While that may seem like an extremely rare circumstance, it is worth noting that President Trump and almost all of his advisors, staff and legal team are from New York or have significant dealings in the state. Most notably, his former campaign manager Paul Manafort is a New York resident, as well as his personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
Many analysts expect that these individuals and others may receive a presidential pardon if they do receive convictions, which presents to some a significant overreach of presidential authority, essentially bypassing the justice system entirely. While it is understandable that many parties may wish to limit the power of a President to pardon those who allegedly commit crimes that benefit him or her, there are other dimensions of the issue to consider.
From a criminal defense perspective, it is always concerning to see the powers of a prosecutor expanded. Regardless of the ongoing political theater playing out on a national level, these sorts of adjustments to the law tend to create larger complications for others down the line.
Defending yourself against white-collar charges
While you may not find yourself the subject of national news or potential presidential pardon, you may easily find yourself facing white collar charges if you do business in New York. These matters are never as simple as a headline or salacious article can express accurately, and the law should not fluctuate depending on the national drama of the moment.
If you do face white-collar charges, you must do everything you can to protect your reputation and your rights. It may take many months or even years to resolve the matter and clear your name, and you must build a careful legal strategy in order to do so. This means, among other things, carefully selecting your legal team to make sure that you stay on top of shifting laws and other developments that may affect you. A strong defense may mean the difference between years of jail time or acquittal, so be sure that you prepare your response thoroughly, using all the tools and resources you have to protect your rights and future freedom.