Manhattan DA mulls prosecuting Bannon after Trump pardon: report
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is reportedly looking into potential state charges against Stephen Bannon nearly two weeks after former President Trump pardoned his onetime chief strategist.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter, that the office of District Attorney Cyrus Vance is looking into whether a case could be brought against Bannon in the state for his role in a fundraising scheme for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Trump’s presidential pardon, issued in his final hours in office, cleared Bannon on federal fraud charges in connection with the border wall. The pardon applied only to federal crimes, meaning Bannon could still be charged in state courts.
According to the Post, two people with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal office conversations said investigators in the district attorney’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau are currently in the early stages of determining whether there is enough evidence to bring a state case against Bannon in connection with the “We Build the Wall” fundraising campaign.
Bannon and three others were charged with falsely claiming to federal authorities that they would not be compensated for their involvement in the fundraising endeavor. The three others involved did not receive a presidential pardon from Trump.
Bannon had denied the charges against him, and he and the three other men pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering charges.
The Post reported Tuesday that it was not clear whether Vance’s office was assisting the New York state prosecutor in a preliminary investigation into possible state charges. Vance’s office has thus far been handling the fundraising campaign case into Bannon.
For evidence to be shared between the agencies, a judicial “sharing order” must be obtained, though it was unclear as of Tuesday whether this had been done.
Both the U.S. attorney’s office and a spokesman for Vance declined to comment to the Post, and a lawyer for Bannon did not respond to request for comment.
A spokeswoman for Bannon had no immediate comment when contacted by the Post.
This comes as Vance’s office is also investigating Trump and the Trump organization over their finances, specifically potential charges of tax and insurance fraud, though Vance’s office has released little information to the public on the specifics of the probe.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly pushed back against the investigation, claiming it was part of a politically motivated “witch hunt.”