Federal judge dismisses Bannon fraud case after Trump pardon

Federal judge dismisses Bannon fraud case after Trump pardon
© Greg Nash

A federal judge has dismissed the fraud case against former President TrumpDonald TrumpSenate rejects attempt to block Biden's Saudi arms sale Crenshaw slams House Freedom Caucus members as 'grifters,' 'performance artists' Senate confirms Biden's nominee to lead Customs and Border Protection MORE’s ex-White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon after Trump granted him clemency just before leaving office in January.

In a court filing published Tuesday, district judge Analisa Torres granted Bannon’s lawyers' request to dismiss his indictment, which involved allegations that Bannon defrauded hundreds of donors who contributed to a fundraising campaign for a private border wall. 

Torres, in the seven-page ruling, cited examples of other cases that have been dismissed following a presidential clemencies, concluding that “dismissal of the Indictment is the proper course.”

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The Hill has reached out to Bannon for comment.

Officials arrested Bannon and three other individuals, was in August 2020 on allegations that the quartet defrauded donors of the online crowdfunding campaign dubbed “We Build The Wall,” which raised more than $25 million.

Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea were also arrested and charged.

The four men faced one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to The Washington Post, Bannon was accused of embezzling more than $1 million as part of the “We Build The Wall” scheme. He falsely expressed to the organization’s backers that the money was being put towards construction.

Bannon, after much speculation, was ultimately granted clemency in the final hours of the Trump administration, along withmore than 100 other individuals.

“President Trump granted a full pardon to Stephen Bannon. Prosecutors pursued Mr. Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project," then-press secretary Keyleigh McEnany said in a statement announcing Bannon’s clemency. "Mr. Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen."

While Torres has dismissed the fraud case, The Post noted that it is unclear if the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office, which brought the case, will appeal her ruling.

Bannon now joins the likes of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who also had his case dismissed following a presidential pardon from Trump.

Flynn in 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, the then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. He later, however, proclaimed his innocence in court and sought to change his plea.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, who granted Flynn’s dismissal, noted, however, that the grant of clemency does not mean Flynn is innocent of lying to the FBI.

Updated at 5:50 p.m.