Steve Bannon turned himself in to authorities on Thursday morning and is expected to face New York State Fees linked to an effort to raise money to finance the construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States.
Former Donald Trump aide is expected to plead not guilty on Thursday as indicted later Thursdayhis lawyer Robert Costello told CNN.
The state charges, which were dismissed in an indictment, are based on the same conduct Bannon was charged with by federal prosecutors in 2020 who alleged he and three others defrauded donors in the border wall effort, which raised more than $25 million.
However, presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations.
Bannon appeared to attribute his situation to political motivations.
“It’s an irony, on the very day the mayor of this town has a delegation at the border, they persecute people here, who try to stop them at the border,” he told reporters outside the office. from the prosecutor on Thursday.
“All of that is about 60 days from the day,” he said later, referring to the November election.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office launched a criminal investigation into Bannon’s “We Build the Wall” fundraising activities early last year after then-President Trump. Bannon pardoned on federal fraud charges related to the same alleged scheme.
Bannon had been accused by the federal government of having embezzled more than a million dollars to pay off an alleged co-conspirator and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. Prosecutors alleged that the donors, including some in New York, were falsely told that all the money donated would go to the construction effort.
Over the past several months, several people close to Bannon have been arraigned before the state’s grand jury.
Manhattan prosecutors have subpoenaed bank records and quietly worked on the investigation over the past year as they investigate Trump and his real estate business, sources familiar with the matter previously told CNN. But the district attorney’s office has postponed a charging decision against Bannon until federal prosecutors complete their case against his three co-defendants, who have not been pardoned.
Bannon released a statement Tuesday evening, calling the indictment in part “false accusations” and “nothing more than partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
“I am proud to be a leading advocate for protecting our borders and building a wall to protect our country from drugs and violent criminals,” he said in the statement, adding: “They are after all of us, not just President Trump and myself. I will never stop fighting. In fact, I haven’t started fighting yet. They will have to kill me first.
In July, a federal jury found Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces a minimum sentence of 30 days in prison, according to federal law.