Bannon charged

Steve Bannon indicted.

Top former Trump strategist Steve Bannon has been charged in New York with money laundering, conspiracy and scheme to defraud in connection with his role in a fundraising effort to privately underwrite the construction of the US-Mexico border wall, according to the indictment unsealed on Thursday.

Bannon is facing charges that he siphoned off more than $1m from the “We Build the Wall” fundraising effort that promised to send all proceeds towards underwriting the completion of the US-Mexico border wall to enrich himself and his associates, the 22-page indictment said.

Bannon never went to trial after he received a presidential pardon from Donald Trump that expunged the federal charges. But pardons do not apply to state-level prosecutions and the New York state charges mark significant legal peril for the architect of Trump’s 2016 election win.

I sincerely hope so.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office started examining whether to pursue a case against Bannon almost immediately after he received the pardon, one source with knowledge of the matter said, and several close Bannon allies recently received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury.

That office opened its case armed with the knowledge that two others – Kolfage and Badolato – had pleaded guilty to the August 2020 federal case, and that Kolfage had admitted to the judge that he had conspired to illegally receive money from donations made to the project.

Also isn’t accepting a pardon seen as admission of guilt? Don’t some people turn them down for that reason?

“Defendants defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction,” Audrey Strauss, the US attorney in Manhattan, said at the time.

Spent on construction of a spiteful racist wall. I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for the donors, I gotta say.

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