Former White House adviser Steve Bannon surrendered to prosecutors this Thursday in Manhattan and was charged with money laundering, fraud and conspiracy in connection with the “We Build the Wall” fundraising scheme — a scheme that former President Donald Trump pardoned him for before he left office, The Washington Post reports.
Bannon, 68, is still awaiting sentencing in regards to his conviction this summer of contempt of Congress. He’s expected to appear in court this afternoon on the new slate of charges.
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Bannon “acted as the architect of a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud thousands of donors across the country – including hundreds of Manhattan residents.”
Steve Bannon entering courtroom just now for arraignment: “They will never shut me up, they’ll have to kill me first.” pic.twitter.com/j075rpnkWX
— Olivia Rubin (@OliviaRubinABC) September 8, 2022
In her own statement, New York Attorney General Letitia James said that Bannon “took advantage of his donors’ political views to secure millions of dollars which he then misappropriated” and “lied to his donors to enrich himself and his friends.”
From The Post:
In August 2020, Bannon was yanked off a yacht by law enforcement agents to face his indictment in the federal “We Build the Wall” case. In that indictment, he was accused of personally pocketing $1 million from “We Build the Wall,” a Trump-aligned cash collection drive that Bannon helped to orchestrate starting in December 2018.
Bannon pleaded not guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to commit money laundering in the fundraising case and was released on a $5 million bond. Trump pardoned him just before leaving office.
But presidential pardons can only apply to federal cases, making it possible for local prosecutors to bring cases covering the same ground that involve potential violations of applicable state statutes.
Two other men involved in the scheme pleaded guilty in the federal case, while a third went to trial which ended in a mistrial.
Read the full report over at The Washington Post.