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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Steve Banon surrenders to the New York prosecutors

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Steve Bannon is set to surrender Thursday to face New York state charges relating to his fundraising push to build a wall along the southern US border.

The federal indictment against Bannon from 2020 constituted the basis for the state accusations that have been returned in an indictment. As he was about to leave office, then-President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon of the federal fraud charges associated with the alleged conspiracy. State inquiries are not covered by presidential pardons.

Bannon is anticipated to enter a not guilty plea when he is formally charged, according to Robert Costello, the former Trump aide’s attorney.

Late on Tuesday, Bannon released a statement, in which he described the allegations as “fake” and the indictment as “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”

“They are after all of us, not just President Trump and I, he continued, adding, “I am happy to be a strong voice on defending our borders and building a wall to keep our nation safe from narcotics and dangerous criminals. I’ll never give up battling. I haven’t even started to battle yet. They’ll need to murder me first.”

Bannon and three other people are accused by federal authorities with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York of defrauding contributors for the border wall initiative, which raised more than $25 million.

Bannon was accused of using more than $1 million as a cover for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses and to pay an alleged co-conspirator. Authorities claimed that donors, some of whom were located in New York, were misled into believing that their contributions would all be used for the building project.

Over the last year, Manhattan prosecutors discreetly worked on the probe while subpoenaing bank data to look into Trump and his real estate companies. However, the district attorney’s office decided not to charge Bannon until the federal prosecutor’s case against his three co-defendants, who were not pardoned, was resolved.

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