FORMER DONALD TRUMP advisor, Steve Bannon has been charged with money laundering at New York courthouse.
Bannon was charged Thursday by Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, with two felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of conspiracy and one felony count of a scheme to defraud. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five to 15 years on the most serious charge.
Bannon is accused of defrauding Americans who wanted to contribute to construction of a southern border wall, resurrecting a threat that Mr. Bannon seemed to have escaped with a 2021 presidential pardon.
It’s claimed Bannon played an integral role in an organization known as ‘We Build the Wall Inc,.’ which raised $25M in donations.
The group, whose president and was a wounded veteran of the Iraq war, reaped the millions of dollars primarily in online donations, pledging to make the symbol of Trump’s successful 2016 campaign a reality.
Bannon was led by law enforcement through a hallway in handcuffs past reporters, photographers and onlookers. “It’s all nonsense. They will never shut me up.” he told the assembled media.
Prosecutors believe Bannon funneled more than $100,000 of donations to the organization’s president, Brian Kolfage, who had repeatedly promised not to take a salary.
New York’s Attorney General, Letitia James said that while Bannon had represented himself as a patriotic volunteer fighting for ordinary citizens, he too had personally profited.
District Attorney Bragg said: “In Manhattan and in New York, you will be held accountable for defrauding donors.”
In July Bannon was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, appeared relaxed and confident in an appearance in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where he pleaded not guilty.
“Mr. Bannon is intending to fight these charges all the way through,” said his lawyer, David Schoen. “He is not guilty of anything that he’s charged with or of any crime.”
We Build the Wall began as a GoFundMe page started by . Kolfage, who lost his legs and an arm in Iraq. Republicans including Trump’s elder son, Donald Jnr, appeared at an event for the group.
By the following year, Kolfage said he had raised $20 million from almost 340,000 donations and set up the nonprofit to continue collecting funds. The scheme to defraud donors began soon afterward, prosecutors allege.
It remains unclear whether Bannon will strike a deal with prosecutors. He vowed several times on Thursday to fight the case, claiming the charges amounted to a political conspiracy.