Steve Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald Trump, is set to go for arraignment in New York on Thursday on new criminal charges involving an alleged fundraising scheme.
The case is expected to echo aspects of an earlier federal criminal case that charged Bannon and three co-defendants with conspiring to dupe donors who contributed more than $25 million to build a security wall along the US-Mexico border.
Those who participated in a crowdfunding campaign would have been assured that all money raised would go to the construction project – helping to bolster a Trump White House signature goal.
However, the federal indictment in that case alleged that Bannon and his co-defendants secretly siphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations. Bannon raised more than $1 million through a nonprofit he controlled and used the funds to pay personal expenses and other costs, federal prosecutors say.
The alleged conspirators have pleaded not guilty. Trump pardoned Bannon in the final days of his White House tenure, aborting the federal case against the strategist.
However, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. has launched an investigation into the alleged scheme using state criminal laws. The state’s criminal charges cannot be erased by presidential pardons.
Alvin Bragg, Vance’s successor as Manhattan’s top local prosecutor, continued the investigation, leading to the expected new charges.
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The case isn’t the only criminal case involving Bannon, 68, the right-wing media executive and political strategist who served as Trump’s White House adviser and kept in touch with Trump even after he was expelled.
Bannon was found guilty in July of two counts of contempt for refusing to appear before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters aimed at blocking the certificate of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential campaign.
Committee members requested testimony and documents from Bannon because he was suspected of having been in contact with Trump in the weeks leading up to the attack on the Capitol.
Bannon, who is due in October for that conviction, said after the verdict he plans to appeal.