Bannon arrives to surrender to New York prosecutors

NEW YORK — Stephen K. Bannon arrived to surrender to prosecutors Thursday morning to face a state-level criminal indictment, less than two months after he was found in contempt of Congress and nearly two years after that former President Donald Trump pardoned him in a federal case. involving defrauded contributors to a $25 million fundraising effort.

Details of the state court’s indictment have yet to be made public, but people familiar with the case say it is tied to allegations of fraud that were pardoned. Banon. In that case, he was charged in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with personally pocketing $1 million from “We Build the Wall,” a Trump-aligned fundraiser that Bannon helped orchestrate from December. 2018.

Presidential pardons can only apply to federal cases, allowing local prosecutors to bring cases covering the same ground that involve potential violations of applicable state laws.

Facing a trial, Bannon swears to go “medieval”, but the judge says meh.

Bannon’s case will be handled in New York Supreme Court by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and New York Attorney General Letitia James. Spokespersons for both offices declined to comment on what is still a sealed deal.

But the indictment was confirmed by several people familiar with the indictment who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details related to a sealed case.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Bannon – a right-wing activist, podcaster and political strategist – called the expected case “bogus” and called the prosecutors’ decision “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the justice system. criminal”.

In August 2020, Bannon was pulled from a yacht by federal law enforcement to face his charge in the original “We Build the Wall” case. Bannon pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the fundraising case and was released on $5 million bond.

The status of the main investigations involving Donald Trump

He and three other men, who were not pardoned by Trump, were accused of defrauding contributors after promising that all funds raised would support construction of the wall. Two of the men, including disabled veteran Brian Kolfage, pleaded guilty. A trial for another alleged participant, Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial by a hung jury in June.

Completing a physical barrier across the entire southern US border was a hallmark Trump campaign promise in 2016 that never fully materialized. Bannon was a key adviser to Trump during the campaign and for several months in the White House.

Given that Bannon, 68, was granted clemency before his conviction, it is not expected that there will be a viable double jeopardy issue in his new case.

But double jeopardy – the legal principle that you cannot be tried twice for the same crime – applied in a New York state mortgage fraud case brought against Paul Manafort, another Trump ally. That case was dismissed in December 2019 after a judge ruled the charges overlapped too much with those in Manafort’s federal conviction.

Steve Bannon found guilty in contempt of Congress trial on January 6

The federal charges against Manafort stemmed from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into 2016 election interference. Manafort was pardoned by Trump in late 2020. Bannon’s pardon was among dozens of acts of leniency occurred in the final hours of Trump’s presidency in January 2021.

Bannon’s ties to Trump landed him in legal trouble again when the Justice Department filed a contempt of Congress suit against him after he refused to comply with a subpoena for records and testimony from the select committee of the House investigating the riot at the Capitol on January 6. , 2021.

Bannon was sentenced in this case at the end of July and is expected to be sentenced on October 21. Each of the two counts on which he was convicted carries a minimum of 30 days in prison and up to a year.

This story will be updated.

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