Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was charged by prosecutors in New York on Thursday with money laundering and conspiracy in connection with allegations that he defrauded donors to a group aimed at building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Driving the news: Bannon, who surrendered to the Manhattan district attorney’s office, faces two counts of money laundering in the second degree and one count of conspiracy in the fourth degree in connection to his work with We Build the Wall, per the unsealed indictment.
State of play: Former President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon at the end of his term in a similar federal case, but presidential pardons don’t apply to state investigations.
- Bannon had pleaded not guilty to the federal charges before Trump’s pardon.
- In a statement Tuesday, Bannon slammed the expected New York indictment as “phony charges” and “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
What they’re saying: “It is a crime to turn a profit by lying to donors, and in New York, you will be held accountable,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.
- “As alleged, Stephen Bannon acted as the architect of a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud thousands of donors across the country — including hundreds of Manhattan residents,” he added.
“There cannot be one set of rules for everyday people and another for the wealthy and powerful — we all must play by the same rules and must obey the law,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement.
- “Mr. Bannon took advantage of his donors’ political views to secure millions of dollars which he then misappropriated.”
- “We will continue to take on fraudulent behavior in every corner of society, including white collar criminals, because no one is above the law,” James said.
The big picture: Earlier this summer, Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 select committee investigating the attack. His sentencing in the case is set for Oct. 21.