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New York Assembly passes bill closing ‘double jeopardy’ loophole

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May 21 (UPI) — The New York State Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would permit state authorities to pursue charges against a person who has received a pardon from the president.

The Democratically held assembly voted 92-50 in favor of the bill closing a “double jeopardy” loophole some legislators, including the bill’s author Sen. Todd Kaminsky, fear could be exploited by President Donald Trump.

“Right now the president’s threatened use of the pardon power is very troubling. It would be done to undermine an investigation to help out friends and family members,” Kaminsky told NPR.

The New York state Senate passed a version of the bill last month and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign it.

Under the exception, state prosecutors would be permitted to open or advance investigations into any pardoned individual who worked in the president’s administration, campaign or a non-profit business owned by the president where alleged criminal activity took place in New York.

It also allows prosecutors to open or continue investigations into anyone pardoned for the president’s benefit.

Republican Assemblyman Andy Goodell questioned the constitutionality of the bill, stating it asked lawmakers to set aside the “concept of fairness and equity not because we’re faced with any actual situation but on a hypothetical situation.”

The bill’s assembly sponsor, Democrat Joseph Lentol, said the bill was not just focused on Trump, but will confront any president who believes they “can wash away illegal behavior.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who backed the legislation and is involved in multiple probes of Trump and his family, praised Tuesday’s vote.

“Double jeopardy exists to prevent someone from being charged twice for the same crime, not to allow them to evade justice altogether,” she wrote on Twitter. “The rule of law is a core pillar of our nation’s democracy and my primary role is to uphold it and ensure that no one is above it.”

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