Today, Free Speech For People, and a coalition of national organizations, issued a letter to the New York legislature in support of a bill pending before the state legislature to close the double jeopardy loophole in New York State before the President begins to issue pardons.

New York State law may currently allow certain defendants pardoned by the president for their federal crimes to also escape prosecution for their state crimes. The NY legislature has previously enacted twelve exceptions to the double jeopardy statute. The current bill, A.6653/S.4572, would provide a new exception that narrowly targets self-dealing presidential pardons.

The coalition letter to the New York Assembly and the New York State Senate outlines how the bill would ensure that state prosecutors could bring cases against certain defendants pardoned by the president for self-dealing purposes. The letter also addresses the constitutionality of the bill and how it maintains all other double jeopardy protections.

As Free Speech For People Legal Director, Ron Fein, notes:

“This bill has been carefully tailored to allow New York to hold a president’s closest associates accountable for their criminal activity, while preserving all constitutional protections,” says Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People. “Whether the president is a Democrat, Republican, or none of the above, a presidential pardon for his or her top aides or family members should not close the door on accountability under state law.”

The co-signatories to the letter include: Free Speech For People; Protect Democracy; Action Group Network; Coalition to Preserve, Protect, and Defend; Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; Equal Justice Society; Public Citizen; Stand Up America; and The Loyal Opposition.

To download the letter issued to New York legislators, click here.

To download the press release, click here.

Read more about closing the double jeopardy loophole in New York State in an oped by Ron Fein and Laurence Tribe for the New York Daily News, here.