Former top Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon surrendered at a New York City courthouse on Thursday morning to face new state criminal charges related to a fundraising campaign to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
Bannon, 68, is due to be arraigned on the case at about 2:15 p.m. ET in Manhattan Criminal Court on six criminal counts, which include scheme to defraud, conspiracy and money laundering, c. Also charged in the case is WeBuildtheWall Inc.
The new grand jury indictment against him comes more than two years after Bannon was arrested on federal charges that he and three other men defrauded donors who gave millions of dollars to fund the “We Build the Wall” campaign.
As with that case, prosecutors in the New York case unsealed Thursday allege that despite representations to donors to the contrary, the non-profit We Build the Wall’s president and CEO was taking a salary of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which was paid for by donations to the group.
The indictment says Bannon and others not charged in the new case agreed to use a non-profit controlled by Bannon to act as an intermediary to accept money to hide the fact that We Build the Wall’s leader was being paid for his work, despite publicly saying he would not be paid a “penny.”
“Donors, including hundreds from New York County, responded to these solicitations by donating to WeBuildTheWall, Inc., which obtained more than fifteen million dollars in proceeds,” the indictment says..
That prior case ended when former President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon on his last night before leaving office in January 2021.
Bannon was one of dozens of people to receive a pardon or receive a commutation of a criminal sentence by Trump in his last weeks in office.
Presidential pardons only apply to federal crimes, and do not protect people from prosecution on state charges.
As he walked into Manhattan Criminal Court, Bannon told a crowd of reporters and gawkers that the new prosecution against him is politically motivated.
“This is an irony, on the very day the mayor of this city has a delegation down on the border, they’re persecuting people here,” Bannon shouted over numerous hecklers jeering him.
He was referring to New York City Mayor Eric Adams having dispatched a group of officials to the southern border earlier this week to meet with Border Patrol agents. That trip was part of an ongoing feud the Democrat Adams has with Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, a Republican, who has sent buses filled with migrants to New York City.
One onlooker yelled at Bannon: “Stop hurting America, you greasy, two-bit grifter!”
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. and New York Attorney General Letitia James are scheduled to speak at a press conference at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the indictment against Bannon.
Bannon in July was convicted in U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., of two counts of contempt of Congress. That case stemmed from his refusal to testify before the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by Trump supporters.
Earlier this week, Bannon told NBC News that New York “has now decided to pursue phony charges against me 60 days before the midterm election.”
“This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system,” he said.