Manafort has been convicted of Federal Tax Fraud. Does that conviction form the basis for a prima facie case of state level tax fraud?

While the President has authority to pardon the federal crime, he is apparently not able to pardon for state crimes. Even in light of a possible federal pardon, is Manafort still in significant legal jeopardy with state tax fraud charges.

2 Answers 2


As in most other states, New York law uses federal AGI as the starting point for calculating state tax liability. If a taxpayer's federal AGI is fraudulent, his state taxes would presumably be fraudulent as well. A federal pardon would have no effect on his liability for crimes at the state level.

  • Could the federal conviction itself be used as evidence in state court? Or would the state prosecutors need to prove the case from scratch, possibly using some or all of the same evidence from the federal trial? Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 14:15
  • If it were a civil tax enforcement action, NY Evidence Rule 8.35 suggests it could be used. I don't know New York evidence well enough to say how that would work in a criminal case.
    – bdb484
    Commented Sep 24, 2018 at 20:27

The state would still have to prove any possible criminal violations beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Manafort case involved a lot of overseas activity and the related federal regulations which may not be applicable at the state level. It's even possible his state filings are accurate. Unlikely but certainly possible. Many states, possibly all of them, don't include a requirement to declare foreign accounts for example.

In short, no it wouldn't be indisputable evidence of guilt for state tax law violations. If his state returns are incorrect though and he fails to correct them, it would certainly be strong evidence of intent though.

  • I think you are misunderstanding prima facia when you say "no". Prima Facia simply means "raise a presumption unless disproved or rebutted".
    – BobE
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:43
  • When is anyone presumed to have committed a crime?
    – user21007
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:48
  • And while you are correct that state law may not tax overseas activities, because NY requires the declaration of Federal AGI on the state form, the two better match. If, (for example) overseas activities are not taxable on the state return those would be backed-out later in the state return.
    – BobE
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:55
  • Sure but that alone isn't enough to shift the burden of proof onto the defendant.
    – user21007
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 15:57
  • When is anyone presumed..... Everyday ! People are charged everyday by law enforcement.
    – BobE
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 16:00

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