Five year limit expires on Manuel’s accusation against Michael San Nicolas

A crime John Paul Manuel accused his former boss, Michael San Nicolas, of committing has surpassed the five year mark without any federal indictments being issued.

In 2019, Mr. Manuel, after having not been chosen for employment by Mr. San Nicolas in his congressional office, accused the former congressman of a federal election crime that involved allegations of wire fraud as well.

The allegation was based on an October 18, 2018 acceptance of a $10,000 donation to Mr. San Nicolas’ congressional campaign from a single donor. That amount exceeded the allowable contribution under federal election rules. Mr. Manuel, according to a reported interview, admitted during the course of the investigation into the matter that he generally handled the campaign’s finances.

In an ethics complaint he filed against the former congressman with the U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee, Mr. Manuel alleged Mr. San Nicolas knew about the donation, knew the donation was improper, and directed him to accept the donation.

Mr. San Nicolas denied the allegations and fought the report for the nearly four years it took for the House Ethics investigation panel to produce and publish a report on it.

The report, written by an investigator who was later charged for crimes in Pennsylvania after he allegedly drove drunk into a home and tried to bribe the home owner to not call police, stated “substantial evidence” existed for the House Ethics committee to move forward with proceedings against Mr. San Nicolas. The recommendation was based solely on interviews with Mr. Manuel and fewer than a handful of congressional staffers.

The investigation produced no forensic evidence corroborating Mr. Manuel’s claims.

The House Ethics committee ended its investigation with no findings for the full House of Representatives to dispense with regarding San Nicolas. Instead, the committee forwarded its findings to the U.S. Department of Justice, presumably for prosecution of federal election and wire fraud crimes.

“No person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for any violation of subchapter I of this chapter, unless the indictment is found or the information is instituted within 5 years after the date of the violation,” U.S. law prescribing the period of limitations on the prosecution of federal election crimes states (52 USC 30145).

The U.S. Department of Justice also cites 18 USC §3282, “The statute of limitations for mail fraud and wire fraud prosecutions is five years.”

The five year mark was reached on October 18, 2023. There are no indictments against Mr. San Nicolas.

A decision by the Justice Department not to prosecute within the statute of limitations is not proof of innocence. It is possible federal investigators conducted an investigation and found insufficient probable cause to bring a case before a jury. Or, evidence was brought before the federal grand jury and the grand jury found not enough probable cause exists that a crime was committed. Or, the U.S. Attorney could simply have decided in the interest of federal resources to not pursue a case.

Whatever the case may be, Mr. San Nicolas and his political supporters have, for years, maintained his innocence and questioned both the integrity and the timing of the House Ethics committee’s report.

In interviews following the release of the panel report, Mr. San Nicolas pointed out that the investigation produced no evidence whatsoever to substantiate Mr. Manuel’s claims and that the sole basis of the investigation was Manuel’s word against San Nicolas’.

The report was released more than three years after Mr. Manuel made the complaint, and only months before Mr. San Nicolas’ election challenge for governor to Lou Leon Guerrero in the democratic primary. Prior to the publication of the report, polls showed Mr. San Nicolas having a double digit lead over the incumbent governor.

Ms. Leon Guerrero and her campaign used the report to bash Mr. San Nicolas and to beg voters to question his integrity, though the Justice Department never confirmed any investigation.

Local media hotly reported the controversy through the primary election, then dropped any follow up after Mr. San Nicolas lost to Ms. Leon Guerrero.


  • Alan San Nicolas

      11/18/2023 at 7:09 AM

    BIBA ✌️ Nota na I petsona (taotao) ni fache I titanos ña seimpre ha espiha po na dañu I otru sa ti ma atende gue. KONSIGI MIKE I HINANAO MONA !!!

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