Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Donald Trump, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to accusations of money laundering, conspiracy, and fraud in connection with an alleged web plot to gather money for the building of a wall along the southern US border, according to his counsel.
The federal charges against Bannon in 2020 claimed that he and three others had defrauded donors in the border wall campaign, which raised more than $15 million. The state charges are based on the same conduct. Later, Trump pardoned him.
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.”
Bannon remarked, “This is what occurs in the latter days of a dying dictatorship. We’re walking past reporters into court while being handcuffed and escorted by cops. They’ll have to murder me first because I’ll never stop talking. I haven’t started fighting yet.”
According to the indictment, Bannon’s associates discussed telling the public that nobody involved in the “We Build The Wall” project would accept a salary. According to the indictment, one of the associates texted Bannon to remark that the assertion “removes all self-interest taint on this” and “gives [the CEO] sainthood.”
Bannon says that he was working “kind of as a volunteer” for We Build The Wall. He reportedly worked behind the scenes to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to himself and his friends.
Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress in July by a federal jury for ignoring a summons from the House select committee looking into the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. According to federal law, he will be given a sentence in October that must include at least 30 days in jail.