According to sources at the Washington Post, Steve Bannon will surrender to New York authorities on Thursday, September 8th regarding charges that are closely related to the federal charges for which he was pardoned in 2017.
Prosecutors alleged that Bannon, along with others, defrauded contributors of a private $25 million fundraising campaign called “We Build the Wall”, taking funds that were supposed to support the construction of a barrier at the U.S.-Mexico frontier.
If the indictments against Bannon mirror the federal indictment, it begs the question of whether the Fifth Amendment prohibits the defendant from being tried twice for the same offense. The Washington Times says that this is not true.
A presidential pardon is only valid for federal charges. It does not preempt state charges, even if they are the same underlying conduct.
Bannon made it clear that he was not amused at this latest development.
Bannon, when reached for comment by his spokesperson, said that the indictment was “phony charges” as well as “nothing more than a political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
New York has never tried to prosecute Trump or his associates. Trump won a major legal victory in June over New York Attorney General Letitia Jones’ attempt to bring charges against Trump based on his financial transactions. My colleague commented on the matter at the time.
However, witch-hunts are prone to fail because there isn’t really anything here. The investigation begins with a conclusion, and then the bad-faith actors must try to support that conclusion. James was not authorized to investigate Trump’s business transactions. Instead, she was simply continuing the partisan pursuit that she began while running for attorney general. Trump was the one she promised to defeat, and this is her method of trying to deliver. Facts don’t need to apply.
We will keep an eye on the charges against Bannon and give more information as it becomes available.