Steve Bannon surrenders to authorities for indictment in alleged fundraising scam

Steve Bannon, a former top strategist and campaign chair to Donald Trump, surrendered on Thursday to New York authorities to face state charges in a new indictment.

Bannon, 68, is expected to be indicted in connection with a fundraising drive, known as “We Build the Wall,” to help build Trump’s signature wall along the US-Mexico border.

Bannon and three other men had been charged by federal officials in August 2020 with defrauding donors in that $25 million US fundraising drive.

He pleaded not guilty to the federal indictment, including to charges he amused close to $1 million for personal expenses, but his indictment was dismissed after Trump pardoned him in the final days of his presidency in January 2021.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York State Attorney General Letitia James are expected to provide more details about the state charges at 1 pm ET news conference.

2 Bannon associates await sentencing

The leader of the wall campaign, Brian Kolfage, pleaded guilty in April to federal wire fraud conspiracy and tax charges, and is awaiting sentencing.

Another defendant, Andrew Badolato, also pleaded guilty over the scheme, while a judge in June declared a mistrial in the case of another defendant, Timothy Shea.

Presidential pardons cover federal charges and do not prohibit state prosecutions. Double jeopardy — which prevents a person facing two proceedings for the same crimes — doesn’t apply to the Bannon case because there was never a verdict, or a trial, on the federal charges.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Bannon called the New York case “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”

Bannon to be sentenced in separate case

Bannon has championed right-wing populism for over a decade, beginning as an executive at Breitbart.com, where the site attacked moderate Republicans and immigration practices as they existed before Trump’s presidency, as well as emphasizing urban crime stories.

He signed on to become Trump’s final 2016 campaign chair, succeeding Paul Manafort, who eventually served a prison sentence for an assortment of bank fraud charges.

Bannon spent the first several months of Trump’s presidency as a White House adviser before leaving in August 2017.

A protester holds a sign with an image depicting former US president Donald Trump, outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, on Thursday. (Caitlin Ochs/Reuters)

He now runs the popular War Room podcast, and often hosts guests who deny that Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Bannon was convicted earlier this summer in a separate case for his refusal to answer a congressional subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the US Capitol.

He was convicted on two counts, each which entails jail time between 30 days and one year. He will be sentenced in that case on Oct. 21.

Bragg’s office is also overseeing a probe into Trump’s namesake company, the Trump Organization, which heads to trial next month. Trump Organization executive Allen Weisselberg, its chief financial officer, pleaded guilty in August to a variety of tax charges.

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