By Dom Calicchio
Published October 17, 2019
So you’ve committed a crime but received a pardon from the president of the United States.
That might no longer help you in New York state.
In what appeared to be an action aimed squarely at President Trump, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law Wednesday that lets the state’s prosecutors bring charges against those who’ve received presidential pardons for the crimes in question.
According to Politico, the U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that state prosecutors can bring charges against people who have already faced similar federal charges. But New York’s state law had included ways of blocking the state-level trials.
Cuomo’s signature Wednesday helped erase those obstacles, the report said.
One test of the new law could come if Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani eventually faces charges of lobbying violations under the federal probe he is reportedly facing regarding business dealing in Ukraine, Politico reported.
"This critical new law closes a gaping loophole that could have allowed any president to abuse the presidential pardon power by unfairly granting a pardon to a family member or close associate and possibly allow that individual to evade justice altogether,” New York state Attorney General Tish James said in a statement Wednesday. “No one is above the law, and this commonsense measure will provide a reasonable and necessary check on presidential power today and for all presidents to come.”
In August, President Trump criticized The Washington Post after the newspaper printed a story saying the president claimed he would pardon aides if they broke the law in order to speed the process for building a U.S.-Mexico border wall before the 2020 presidential election.
“Another totally Fake story in the Amazon Washington Post (lobbyist) which states that if my Aides broke the law to build the Wall (which is going up rapidly), I would give them a Pardon,” Trump wrote at the time. “This was made up by the Washington Post only in order to demean and disparage - FAKE NEWS!”
Earlier this month Trump posthumously pardoned Zay Jeffries, a World War II scientist who helped develop tank-piercing artillery that helped defeat the Nazis. After the war, Jeffries was convicted of business actions that violated Sherman Anti-Trust Act.
Other recipients of Trump pardons have included Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff in Arizona; Lewis “Scooter” Libby, a former chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney; Jack Johnson, a champion boxer; and Dinesh D’Souza, a conservative author and filmmaker.