Oct. 16 (UPI) -- New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have approved a new law that allows prosecutors to charge residents with crimes on the state level, even if they have received a presidential pardon.
Cuomo signed the law Wednesday, which closes a legal "double jeopardy" loophole in New York that had shielded offenders pardoned by the president from state prosecutions. The updated statute gives New York prosecutors new discretion to level charges in any area they have jurisdiction.
"No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them," Cuomo said in a statement after signing the. "The closure of this egregious loophole gives prosecutors the ability to stand up against any abuse of power, and helps ensure that no politically motivated, self-serving action is sanctioned under law."
New York Attorney General Letitia James, a strong advocate of the bill, has initiated several investigations into businesses, charities and associates of President Donald Trump. Wednesday, she applauded the revision to the criminal code.
"We have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who commit crimes under New York state law are held accountable for those crimes," she said.
"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 lawmaker Andy Goodell criticized the bill in May, saying it's nothing more than "a poke in the eye" to Trump.
The new law could affect some former Trump associates who live in New York, which has long been the president's personal and corporate home base.