Double jeopardy case to be heard
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments about an exception to the Constitution’s ban on being tried for the same offense. The outcome could have a spillover effect on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The justices are taking up an appeal Thursday from federal prison inmate Terance Gamble. He was prosecuted separately by Alabama and the federal government for having a gun after an earlier robbery conviction.
The high court is considering whether to overturn a court-created exception to the Constitution’s double-jeopardy bar that allows state and federal prosecutions for the same crime. The court’s ruling could be relevant if President Donald Trump were to pardon someone implicated in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe and a state wanted to pursue its own charges against that person.
Supreme Court lawyer Tom Goldstein joked at a Washington event before the term began in October that the high court case should be called New York v. Manafort, a reference to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. Trump has refused to rule out an eventual pardon for Manafort, who has been convicted of federal financial fraud and conspiracy crimes. It’s by no means certain that the high court ruling will affect future prosecutions.
But Trump’s Justice Department is urging the court not to depart from what it says is an unbroken line of cases reaching back nearly 170 years in favor of allowing prosecutions by state and federal authorities.