On Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” Andrew Napolitano said on Tuesday that a forthcoming decision by the Supreme Court decision on the principle of double jeopardy could serve to exonerate Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager. Napolitano, a former federal judge, said, “The framers wanted this in there because British kings would try you — you were found not guilty. They’d try you again before another jury and again before another jury. The Constitution prohibits it.” He went on to say, “The Supreme Court has looked and said it only prohibits the same government from trying you again. So if you commit a crime that is both a state and a federal crime, you can be tried twice.”
Napolitano cited the case of Gamble v. U.S., which involved a man from Alabama who was sentenced to one year in state prison for drug and firearm possession. Later, Gamble was indicted for the same crime by federal prosecutors, thus sparking a legal challenge. “He says, wait a minute, the double jeopardy clause prohibits this second prosecution,” Napolitano continued. “But we now have a Supreme Court that is willing to interpret the double jeopardy clause as the framers intended it. We have [Justices] Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Clarence Thomas agreeing on this principle.”
According to Napolitano, the issue of double jeopardy has not been examined for about 150 years. With a pardon from President Trump, Manafort may walk free, he said. “When Manafort pleaded guilty in September, his guilty plea was 175 pages long. I’ve never seen one like it. He not only pleaded guilty to federal crimes for which he was charged, he pleaded guilty to state crimes for which he has not yet been charged,” he said. “Why did they do that? Because they fear that the president might pardon Paul Manafort. The day of the pardon he’ll be indicted by the states — unless those prosecutions would be prohibited by a new double jeopardy interpretation.” A high court decision on the case can be expected, he said, by April 2019.