Full details of the state’s lawsuit could not be confirmed late Tuesday. But people familiar with the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sealed indictment, suggested the prosecution would mirror aspects of the federal case in which Bannon was acquitted.
In the indictment, prosecutors alleged that Bannon and several other people defrauded contributors to a private home of $25 million. The fundraising effort, called “We’re Building the Wall,” is taking money that donors were told would help build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which handles federal prosecutions, has been evaluating Bannon’s alleged involvement in the scheme since shortly after Trump pardoned him, The Washington Post reported. reported February, 2021.
A presidential pardon applies only to federal prosecutions and cannot bar state prosecutions.
Banon, a a former Trump chief strategist who was briefly a White House aide, pleaded not guilty to federal charges in August 2020, after authorities removed him from a luxury yacht and brought him to court. He was accused of pocketing $1 million in the scheme.
Months later, in the final hours of his presidency, Trump included Bannon on an extensive list of about 140 people.
Two other men, including disabled veteran Brian Kolfage, pleaded guilty in federal court in relation to the fundraising plan. The case involving the third defendant, Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial in June when the jury failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
The new federal charges come less than two months after Bannon, 68, was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a House committee investigating the Jan. 6 rebellion.
The state’s case will be handled in New York State Supreme Court by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D). A spokesman for Bragg declined to comment when reached Tuesday evening.
But three people familiar with the matter confirmed that Bannon is expected to surrender on Thursday.
When reached for comment, Bannon released a statement through his spokesman that described the indictment as “fraudulent accusations” and “nothing more than a political weapon of the criminal justice system.”
Tea state efforts to investigate Bannon in the border wall fraud scheme began under Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
In addition to Bannon’s investigation, Bragg’s office also inherited a long-running investigation into Trump and his business practices. Last month, Trump’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded guilty in connection with the tax scheme. The Trump Organization is expected to face trial in the tax case in October.
Investigators from the New York State attorney general’s office have joined with the district attorney’s attorneys to assist in the Trump business practices case and the Bannon case.
Bannon’s conviction in July for contempt of Congress related to January. The 6th investigation made him the closest Trump associate to be convicted of a crime in the White House attack. The two-witness trial lasted just one week and found that Bannon had ignored a congressional subpoena to which he had to respond.