Former president Donald Trump’s steadfast friend Steve Bannon said on Tuesday that he anticipates being prosecuted shortly in a state criminal case in New York City.
68-year-old Bannon intends to surrender on Thursday, a source close to the situation said. In order to speak about an ongoing inquiry, the source insisted on anonymity.
The state criminal case, according to The Washington Post’s unnamed sources, would mimic a prior effort at a federal trial in which Bannon was accused of defrauding supporters who contributed money to build a wall along the southern border of the United States.
Before trial, the federal case came to an abrupt end when Trump pardoned Bannon.
Late on Tuesday, the Manhattan district attorney’s office refused to comment.
Bannon claimed in a statement that District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has now decided to pursue phony charges against me 60 days before the midterm election.” He claimed that the Democratic prosecutor was pursuing charges against him because he and his radio show are well-liked by Trump’s Republican backers.
Bannon spoke to his detention in August 2020, months before Trump’s reelection defeat, saying, “The SDNY did the exact same thing to attempt to knock me out of the race.”
Federal investigators detained Bannon after removing him from a luxurious boat off the coast of Connecticut on suspicion that he had stolen more than $1 million in wall contributions.
The former White House strategist said, “It didn’t work before, and it surely won’t work today.” “This is nothing more than the criminal justice system being used as a political weapon,”
When Trump pardoned Bannon on his final day in office in January 2021, the case against him, in which he had pled not guilty, was dismissed from the federal court.
In April, two other guys connected to the “We Build the Wall” initiative entered guilty pleas. Sentence was supposed to be handed down this week, but it was just moved up to December. In June, the jury declared a mistrial in the case of a third defendant because they were unable to agree on a judgment.
Although a president may only pardon federal charges and not state-level crimes, this does not give state-level prosecutors free reign to pursue related prosecutions.
In an effort to protect himself against a potential pardon, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. charged Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Trump’s campaign, with state mortgage fraud in 2019.
However, a court dismissed the case for violating the prohibition against double jeopardy because it was too similar to a federal case that led to Manafort’s conviction. (Trump eventually issued a pardon for Manafort).
While the Manafort case in New York was ongoing, the state relaxed its restrictions on double jeopardy, allowing state-level prosecutors to seek charges against anybody who had received a presidential pardon for comparable federal offenses.
Because he was dismissed from the federal lawsuit in its early stages, Bannon’s situation is unique. Double jeopardy often only comes into play when a person has already been found guilty or innocent of a crime.
In a separate incident that was not covered by Trump’s pardon, Bannon was found guilty in July of violating a congressional subpoena issued by the House committee looking into the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol. He will get a sentencing in October and might receive a maximum of two years in federal prison.