Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon was indicted Thursday in New York on financial fraud charges in a case involving alleged embezzlement of funds to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg announced.
“It’s a crime to make a profit by lying to donors, and in New York, you’re being held accountable for that,” Bragg said at a news conference as he unveiled charges, including “money laundering,” against Bannon and a nonprofit “We Build the Wall” that raised some $15 million in the U.S. to fund the construction of a wall on the border with Mexico – a campaign promise of Donald Trump, who was elected president in 2016.
Even before arriving early this morning at the offices of the New York State Attorney for the District of Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, Bannon dressed in black, with a three-day beard and salt-and-pepper hair – denounced in a statement “bogus prosecution of [lui]60 days before the November 8 mid-term legislative elections between the Republican opposition and the Democratic majority.
In front of the courthouse in lower Manhattan, Mr. Bannon, welcomed by a forest of cameras, said on CNN “persecuted” by the New York judiciary, whose chief judges, prosecutors Letitia James and Alvin Bragg, are elected officials from the Democratic Party.
According to CNN, citing attorney Robert Costello, Donald Trump’s former eminence grise is expected to plead not guilty.
The Washington Post and then CNBC and CNN reported since Tuesday night that Steve Bannon, 68, would turn himself in to local law enforcement in New York to be charged with fraud and financial scamming.
According to press reports, this is the same case that earned Bannon his first fraud indictment in 2020 in U.S. federal court.
The former White House adviser had even been arrested in August 2020, accused with three others of defrauding and embezzling part of $25 million in donor funds to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. A campaign promise of Donald Trump, elected in November 2016.
But Steve Bannon was never tried in a court of law, as he had been pardoned by Donald Trump on January 19, 2021, a day before Trump left the White House to Democrat Joe Biden.
On Wednesday, the former adviser blasted a partisan politicization of criminal justice.
The criminal indictment comes six weeks after Bannon was convicted in a federal court in Washington of obstructing the investigative prerogatives of Congress. He had refused to cooperate with the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, assault on Capitol Hill.