Steve Bannon to be indicted on fresh fraud charges over border wall – sources
Former Trump strategist to face state charges over fundraising for the wall that likely mirror a federal case in which he was pardoned
Former Donald Trump strategist Steve Bannon is expected to be indicted on state fraud charges connected to his role in a fundraising scheme to build a border wall, sources said.
Wed 7 Sep 2022 00.39 EDT
Top former Trump strategist Steve Bannon is expected to be indicted on Thursday on state fraud charges connected to his role in a fundraising scheme to build a border wall, according to two sources familiar with the matter, years after he received a presidential pardon in the federal case.
The expected move by the Manhattan district attorney’s office was quietly communicated to Bannon in recent days, the sources said of the sealed indictment, and indicated the state charges will likely mirror the federal case in which he was pardoned.
Bannon and three others were charged in that case by federal prosecutors in Manhattan with falsely claiming that they would not take compensation in the private “We Build the Wall” fundraising effort to underwrite part of the construction of the wall on the US-Mexico border.
Steve Bannon arrives at court in Washington DC on 22 July.
Steve Bannon convicted of contempt of Congress for defying Capitol attack subpoena
The architect of Trump’s 2016 election campaign and later White House adviser was accused of personally taking more than $1m from what people had donated to the fundraising push that promised to secure funding in order to ensure the completion of the border wall.
Bannon – alongside disabled veteran Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea – raised more than $25m in the online crowdfunding effort, which also promised donors that all of the proceeds would go towards constructing the wall.
Though Bannon pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in August 2020, two others, Kolfage and Badolato, pleaded guilty to siphoning off money from the scheme and defrauding others for their own gain.
Bannon received a last-minute pardon in the final days of the Trump administration that expunged the federal indictment. But presidential pardons do not apply to state-level charges.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office started examining whether to pursue a case against Bannon almost immediately after he received the pardon, one source with knowledge of the matter said, and several close Bannon allies were subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in recent months.
In a statement, Bannon decried the expected indictment as a partisan prosecution that was aimed to hurt Trump politically by going after a political operative involved in uniting the former president’s base months before the 2022 midterm elections.
“The Soros-backed DA has now decided to pursue phoney charges against me 60 days before the midterm election because WarRoom is the major source of the Maga grassroots movement,” Bannon said, referring to his far-right conservative show War Room.
“The SDNY did the exact same thing in August 2020 to try to take me out of the election. It didn’t work then, it certainly won’t work now. This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
“I am proud to be a leading voice on protecting our borders and building a wall to keep our country safe from drugs and violent criminals,” Bannon said. “They are coming after all of us, not only President Trump and myself. I am never going to stop fighting.”
The expected indictment by the Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, earlier reported by the Washington Post, comes weeks after Bannon was convicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack.
#Steve Bannon #Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg #Manhattan district attorney