Court Battles

Bannon trial date set in alleged border wall scam

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Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon and three co-defendants are scheduled to stand trial in May over charges that they scammed hundreds of thousands of donors into contributing to a fundraising campaign purportedly to build a private U.S.-Mexico border wall.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan on Monday announced a May 24 start date for the criminal trial after federal prosecutors earlier this month revealed charges stemming from the “We Build The Wall” project, which raised more than $25 million.

Bannon and co-defendant Brian Kolfage, an Air Force combat veteran, used hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fund for personal expenses, according to prosecutors.

Bannon and Kolfage, along with co-defendants Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, face charges that include conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Bannon, who also served as chief executive of President Trump’s campaign in 2016, is the latest member of the president’s inner circle to face criminal charges.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to lying to the FBI about his communications with a Russian diplomat. He has since backed out of a plea agreement, and the Department of Justice is seeking to withdraw its case against him.

Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, is serving more than seven years in prison on an array of bank and tax fraud charges.

And Trump commuted the nearly 3 1/2-year prison sentence of his former adviser Roger Stone in July, just days before Stone was scheduled to report to a federal corrections facility.

Harper Neidig contributed to this report. Updated at 2:48 p.m.

Tags criminal charges Donald Trump donors Fraud Paul Manafort Roger Stone We Build the Wall

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