NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he expects to be charged soon in a state criminal case in New York.
Bannon, 68, plans to surrender on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, reported that the state’s criminal case would resemble an earlier attempt at a federal prosecution, in which Bannon was accused of duping donors who gave money to fund a wall on the southern border of the United States.
This federal case ended abruptly, before the trial, when Trump pardoned Bannon.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment Tuesday evening.
In a statement, Bannon said District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has now decided to lay false charges against me 60 days before the midterm elections,” accusing the Democratic prosecutor of targeting him because he and his show of radio are popular among Republican Trump supporters.
“The SDNY did the exact same thing in August 2020 to try to get me out of the election,” Bannon said, referring to his arrest months before Trump’s re-election defeat.
Federal agents pulled Bannon from a luxury yacht off the Connecticut coast and arrested him for pocketing more than $1 million in wall donations.
“It didn’t work then, it certainly won’t work now,” the former White House strategist said. “This is nothing more than partisan political militarization of the criminal justice system.”
Bannon, who had pleaded not guilty, was removed from the federal case when Trump pardoned him on his last day in office in January 2021.
Two other men involved in the “We Build the Wall” project pleaded guilty in April. They were due to be sentenced this week, but that was recently postponed until December. The trial of a third defendant ended in a mistrial in June after jurors said they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
A president can only pardon federal crimes, not state misdemeanors, but that doesn’t mean state-level prosecutors have carte blanche to try similar cases.
In 2019, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. brought mortgage fraud charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in what was widely seen as an attempt to hedge against a possible grace.
But a judge dismissed the case on dual criminality grounds, saying it looked too much like a federal case that resulted in Manafort’s conviction. (Manafort was later pardoned by Trump).
While New York’s Manafort case was pending, New York relaxed its double jeopardy protections, ensuring that state-level prosecutors could prosecute anyone granted a presidential pardon for federal crimes. similar.
Bannon’s case differs because he was removed from the federal case in its early stages. In most cases, dual criminality is only a factor when a person has been convicted or acquitted of a crime.
In another case not covered by Trump’s pardon, Bannon was found in July in contempt for defying a congressional subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 uprising on the U.S. Capitol. He is due in October and faces up to two years in federal prison.
Tucker reported from Washington.