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Steve Bannon, former adviser to then-President Donald Trump, arrives at the N.Y. District Attorney's Office to turn himself in on Thursday in New York City. Bannon faces a criminal indictment that mirrors the federal case for which he was pardoned by Trump.

NEW YORK — Steve Bannon, who managed Donald Trump's successful 2016 campaign for the presidency and served his administration as a White House adviser, pleaded not guilty Thursday to New York state charges that he laundered money by diverting funds donated to the We Build the Wall organization.

The organization, launched in 2018, raised more than $15 million after promising to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration.  Bannon was indicted under state law in New York on six charges, including two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy.

"It is a crime to turn a profit by lying to donors, and in New York, you will be held accountable," Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a written statement. "As alleged, Stephen Bannon acted as the architect of a multimillion dollar scheme to defraud thousands of donors across the country – including hundreds of Manhattan residents."

New York Attorney General Letitia James, whose office worked with Bragg's on the investigation, said Bannon's conduct was particularly egregious because he was well-known as an influential ally of former President Trump.

"There cannot be one set of rules for everyday people and another for the wealthy and powerful," she said.  Bannon strongly denied the accusations.  "They will never shut me up," Bannon said as he was led through a hall in handcuffs. "They'll have to kill me first. I have not yet begun to fight." 

The indictment closely tracks a case brought against Bannon in 2020 by the U.S. Justice Department. In that case, two of Bannon's co-defendants pleaded guilty, and a third received a mistrial and may be retried.  Bannon pleaded not guilty but was never tried because President Trump pardoned him on his final day in office. The White House said at the time, "Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen."

The next month, The Washington Post reported that the Manhattan district attorney had begun looking at whether Bannon could be charged under state law.   The then-president's pardon covers only federal crimes, not the state crimes with which Bannon has now been charged. 

Bannon's lawyers may argue that the charges should be dismissed under New York's double-jeopardy law.  Paul Manafort, another Trump adviser, successfully argued for the dismissal of state charges against him in 2019. But, unlike Bannon, Manafort had been tried and convicted in federal court before he was charged in New York. Like Bannon, Manafort received a pardon from Trump in the final month of his presidency.

Before joining the Trump campaign in 2016, Bannon rose to prominence as an executive at Breitbart, a right-wing website.  District Attorney Bragg and Attorney General James have experience bringing oversight to Trump and his dealings. They cooperated on an investigation that resulted in criminal tax evasion and conspiracy charges against the Trump Organization and its former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, in 2021. Weisselberg has pleaded guilty


(CNN) — The contempt of Congress trial against Steve Bannon got underway in earnest on Tuesday with opening statements and the first witness testimony after a failed last-minute effort from the Trump ally's team to delay the trial.

The simple case that prosecutors wish to put on was evident in an opening statement and in the questioning of their first witness, a House select committee staffer, who kept her testimony at a very basic level. 

Bannon's team tried to muddy those waters with insinuations of partisanship -- both in an opening statement and in fiery remarks Bannon delivered outside the courtroom after the proceedings wrapped.


In her opening statement, prosecutor Amanda Vaughn said Bannon was defying a government order that citizens are obligated to follow, telling the jury it should find that "the defendant showed his contempt for the US Congress, US government, and that he's guilty." Bannon, by not complying with the subpoena, "prevented the government from getting the important information it needed from him."

Speaking for about 20 minutes, Vaughn laid out why the committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection was entitled to information from Bannon, going over how congressional committees do the research that shapes laws Congress enacts and why this committee was specifically interested in getting information from Bannon. 

"Because it was a subpoena, Congress was entitled to the information it sought. It wasn't optional. It wasn't a request. It wasn't an invitation. It was mandatory," she said, as she stressed that the committee rejected the reasons Bannon put forward for not cooperating. 

The case that prosecutors signaled they will put on is, in some ways, a product of several pre-trial rulings in their favor from US District Judge Carl Nichols. He has kept out of the trial much of the evidence Bannon sought to present -- including most arguments about executive privilege. The Justice Department instead just has to prove that Bannon made a deliberate and intentional decision not to show up for the requested testimony or produce the demanded documents by set deadlines. 

She framed the case as one "about the defendant thumbing his nose at the orderly process of our government." 

"This is not a case of a mistake," she told the jury. "The defendant didn't get the date wrong. He didn't get confused on where to go. He didn't get stuck on a broken-down metro car. He just refused to follow the rules." 


A long morning of bitter legal argument from Bannon's team led to a relatively short, 15-minute opening statement from his defense attorney Evan Corcoran -- and a long public diatribe from Bannon later. 

Corcoran's opening statement was the first time the public and the court heard Bannon's team's full framing of their defense, after days of their protests. He explained to jurors they would hear about some negotiating around Bannon's subpoena, then hinted that partisanship was afoot when the House select committee subpoenaed his client. 

Bannon's team previously tried to subpoena several House members to testify, but the judge wouldn't allow it, removing one strategy his team had hoped to use. Still, there is a small possibility that the judge may revisit Bannon's wish to call Thompson to testify, depending on how the staffer's testimony and the rest of the prosecutors' case goes. 

With the Justice Department's first witness on the stand to close the afternoon, testimony so far has been as straightforward as prosecutors can make it. 
Q- Did Bannon produce records by his subpoena deadline of October 7?   "He did not," Kristin Amerling, a deputy staff director on the committee, said. 

Q- Did Bannon appear for testimony as his subpoena required on October 14?  "He did not," Amerling said, again, in the witness box. 

The testimony highlighted how simple the Justice Department has sought to make the case for jurors -- including by putting Congress' work in the most basic terms.


Jury Finds He Failed to Comply With House Subpoena From Select Committee Investigating Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
WASHINGTON – Stephen K. Bannon was found guilty by a jury today of two counts of contempt of Congress stemming from his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 breach of the United States Capitol.

Bannon, 68, was found guilty of one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents, despite a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol. The verdict followed a trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The subpoena to Stephen Bannon was not an invitation that could be rejected or ignored,” said Matthew M. Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “Mr. Bannon had an obligation to appear before the House Select Committee to give testimony and provide documents. His refusal to do so was deliberate and now a jury has found that he must pay the consequences.”

Jurors made short work Friday of former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon’s defense on contempt of Congress charges, returning two guilty verdicts against him after less than three hours of deliberation, including a lunch break.

The pair of guilty verdicts from a D.C. jury for Bannon over his defiance of a subpoena from the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attacks and former President Donald Trump’s campaign to overturn the 2020 election results are sure to grab the attention of other witnesses still resisting the panel’s requests or who may have given less-than-forthcoming testimony up to this point.

However, any actual jail time for Bannon in the case could be modest and may be years away. And the significant restraints the judge put on the defenses Bannon could offer at trial raise issues that could find traction at an appeals court or even the Supreme Court.

PARDON    Good Day For Crooks and Scumbags   Bannon Will Be Back — 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former US President Donald T-RUMP granted clemency to former White House aide Steve Bannon as part of a wave of pardons and commutations issued in his final hours in office, but did not pardon himself, members of his family or lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Could be a mistake  

Subpoena Released In Full  —  The report provides a detailed accounting of the select committee's requests for documents and communications dating to April 1, 2020.  The subpoena lists 17 key areas of investigation and specifically directs Bannon to produce any permits and documents related to planning, financing, objectives and communications for the pro-Trump January 6 rally on the National Mall and Capitol complex grounds.

The requested documents include correspondence with former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn; copies of his podcasts in which he discusses false claims of election fraud or the rally; communications with Trump regarding January 6 and -- more specifically -- communications the two may have had on December 30; and communications with key Trump allies such as John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani. 

The committee asks Bannon to provide any communications with far-right extremist groups the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, as well as InfoWars creator Alex Jones.  On October 7, seven hours after Bannon was to provide documents to the committee, the report outlines that Bannon's lawyer, Robert J. Costello, sent a letter to the committee explaining that his client refused to comply with the committee's subpoena. Costello cited a letter from Trump's counsel, Justin Clark, that instructed Bannon to not comply with the subpoena until a deal on executive privilege had been worked out.

"The two-page letter contained only conclusory statements, no legal analysis, and approximately half of it purported to quote from the letter of October 6, 2021, from the counsel to Mr. Trump," the contempt report states.

Related Coverage — Prominent Allies  — Interned At Last —  Bannon, 67, is the latest prominent political ally to receive clemency from Trump, who has often used the powers of the executive branch to reward loyalists and punish his enemies.

SCUMBAG   Trump previously pardoned former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI about his conversation with the former Russian ambassador, and he commuted the prison term for Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress during its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

SCUMBAG   The former executive chairman and co-founder of the right-wing news outlet Breitbart, Bannon is credited as being the architect behind the rise of “America First” right-wing populism. Also related to Qanon.  

He was a key influencer behind some of Trump’s staunch anti-immigration policies in the early days of Trump’s presidency, as well as the border wall that was one of Trump’s key campaign promises.   He was fired from his post at the White House in August 2017.

SCUMBAG   Bannon can still be charged with fraud by New York State prosecutors, said Daniel R. Alonso, a former prosecutor now at the Buckley law firm. Fraud prosecutions are frequently brought by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Alonso added.

SCUMBAG   Washington — Former President Donald Trump's one-time top adviser Steve Bannon turned himself in on Monday on criminal contempt charges after he refused to show up for a deposition ordered by the House January 6 committee. 

Bannon was indicted last Friday by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress. He arrived at the FBI's Washington Field Office and was taken into federal custody Monday morning.

SCUMBAG   He made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court later in the afternoon, and was released on his own recognizance. The conditions of Bannon's release require him to notify the court if he travels domestically outside the Washington, D.C., area. He is not allowed to travel outside the U.S. without court approval, and he has surrendered his passport. He is due to appear in court next on Thursday.

SCUMBAG   Bannon is represented by David Schoen, an Alabama-based attorney who was a member of Mr. Trump's legal team in his second impeachment trial earlier this year. The former president was impeached by the House on a single charge of incitement of insurrection for his role in the January 6 assault on the Capitol and acquitted by the Senate.

SCUMBAG   Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, Bannon vowed to fight the charges. “ What we're doing is taking on this illegitimate Biden regime," Bannon told reporters. He urged supporters not to "ever let this noise up here take you off message."

The former White House chief strategist is charged with one count of contempt for his refusal to appear for a deposition, and another count stemming from his refusal to produce documents to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. If convicted, he would face between 30 days and a year in prison on each charge, as well as fines of up to $100,000.

Bannon, who was a private citizen on January 6 and during the run-up to the attack on the Capitol, has said Mr. Trump directed him "not to produce documents or give testimony that might reveal information" that the former president's lawyers are trying "to legally protect," according to a letter sent to the committee from Bannon's attorney and obtained by CBS News.

SCUMBAG   The indictment alleged that Bannon has "not communicated with the Select Committee in any way since accepting service of the subpoena on September 24, 2021." 

President Biden has rejected Mr. Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents related to the January 6 attack. Mr. Trump has sued to keep the documents private, and an appeals court last week temporarily blocked the release of Mr. Trump's White House records from the National Archives to the House committee.

"The National Archives and Records Administration and the Archivist be enjoined from releasing the records requested by the House Select Committee over which appellant asserts executive privilege, pending further order of this court," the court order read.

The court noted this is simply to allow time for legal arguments on a longer injunction to be made and the ruling "should not be construed in any way as a ruling on the merits," meaning they are not ruling on the validity of Mr. Trump's claims. Oral arguments will be held in front of a three-judge panel later in November.

SCUMBAG   Bannon is the first person to be charged for refusing to appear before the House committee, which has subpoenaed other top Trump aides, including former senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

Congressman Adam Schiff, who is a member of the House committee, said Sunday on "Meet the Press" that they will "move quickly" to refer contempt charges for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for refusing to turn documents over. Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson on Thursday released a letter to Meadows that accused him of resisting the panel's demands for documents and testimony and rejecting any grounds for non-compliance.

The House January 6 select committee was created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year to investigate the attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden's victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more

Mr. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to "walk over" to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot, but was later acquitted by the Senate

The full House of Representatives voted in October to hold Bannon in contempt after he refused to appear for a deposition and they referred the matter to the Justice Department. 

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