Steve Bannon, who was once a top strategist for former US President Donald Trump and who received a presidential pardon, is expected to turn himself in to New York authorities on Thursday to face a new charge, he said. a person familiar with the matter.
Bannon was charged in 2020 in federal court with defrauding donors of a fund to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, but that charge was dropped after he was pardoned in the final moments of Trump’s presidency.
The new indictment is for state criminal charges that may mirror parts of the previous federal case, though it’s unclear why the indictment is still sealed, the person said.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Bannon himself released a statement Tuesday night after the Washington Post first reported on the new allegation.
“This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponry of the criminal justice system,” Bannon said in the statement.
He said Manhattan federal prosecutors did the same thing in August 2020 to try to get him out of that year’s election.
“It didn’t work at the time; it certainly won’t work now,” Bannon said.
Bannon is expected to appear in Manhattan state court on Thursday and then be released pending trial, the person said.
A president can pardon people for federal crimes, but not state crimes.
Bannon is not the first Trump ally to be indicted in state court. In 2019, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office tried to prosecute former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort on criminal charges, including mortgage fraud, similar to crimes Manafort had been convicted of in federal court.
But the charges were dropped after rulings that they amounted to double criminality, or prosecuting someone twice for the same conduct. Manafort was pardoned by Trump in 2020.
Bannon pleaded not guilty in the federal case, but dual criminality may not apply because he was never tried.
Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, who were charged alongside Bannon in the federal “We Build the Wall” case, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in April.
Bannon runs a popular far-right podcast, “War Room,” where he regularly promotes pro-Trump information and welcomes guests who deny that Trump lost the 2020 election.
In July, Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena by the select committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol, a verdict the panel called a “rule of law victory.”
Bannon was top adviser to Trump’s 2016 Republican presidential campaign, then served as his chief White House strategist in 2017, before a feud that was later resolved.
Bannon, 68, championed the right-wing “America First” populism and fierce opposition to immigration that have become hallmarks of the Trump presidency.
Source: CNN Brasil
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