The Justice Department can still pursue charges against Manafort, Stone and Bannon after pardons: prosecutor
Steve Bannon leaving the federal courthouse in Manhattan (screengrab)

While many of President Donald Trump's close allies were pardoned in the final months of his presidency, that doesn't mean they have escaped accountability for their crimes or convictions.

Writing for Just Security, former senior prosecutor for Robert Mueller, Andrew Weissmann, argued that people like Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and others still aren't out of the woods.

In the case of Bannon, there were specific pardons "under chapter 95 of title 18 of the United States Code (basically racketeering type charges)," he wrote. Those aren't all of the charges against Bannon and it certainly doesn't cover additional federal crimes like "mail and wire fraud."

"It is rare that a prosecutor charges all such counts that could be charged, as it would overwhelm a jury and is unnecessary to increasing a sentence upon conviction," he noted.

In the case of Michael Flynn, Trump's pardon was "exceedingly broad," he described. Granting him a pardon for "any and all possible offenses arising from the facts" in his Criminal Information and Statement of Offense, "any and all possible offenses within the investigatory authority or jurisdiction of the Special Counsel" and "any and all possible offenses arising out of facts and circumstances known to, identified by, or in any manner related to the investigation of the Special Counsel."

That wasn't the way the pardons worked for the others, like Stone and Manafort. In his Virginia and Washington, D.C. trial, there were 10 hung counts that could all be retried.

"In that district, Manafort pleaded to a superseding information containing two conspiracy charges, while the entire underlying indictment — containing numerous crimes from money laundering, to witness tampering, to violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act — now remains open to prosecution as there was no conviction for those charges," Weissmann explained.

One count, in particular, Weissmann explained, Manafort already admitted to under oath.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in Feb. 2019 that Manafort breached the cooperation agreement by lying to the government, the Justice Department isn't bound by the cooperation agreement not to go after other charges.

There were also narrow pardons for Roger Stone, George Papadopoulos and Alex van den Zwann, all of whom could be held accountable due to Trump's sloppy pardon text.

Read the full explanation at Just Security.