The state’s charges are based on the same behavior that federal prosecutors charged Bannon with in 2020 that he and three others allegedly defrauded of donors in the border wall effort, which raised more than $25 million.
However, the presidential pardon does not apply to state investigations.
According to the indictment, an unnamed Bannon partner created an online fundraising platform to raise funds for the construction of a border wall. In order to get money from donors, the organizer promised that “100% of the money” would go to building a border wall, and he wouldn’t take a salary from the project, prosecutors say.
Bannon’s associates discussed telling the public that no one involved in the “We’re Building the Wall” project would receive a salary, according to the indictment. In a text message, one of the partners told Bannon that the allegation “removes all suspicion of self-interest” and that it “gives [the CEO] says the indictment.
In the indictment, prosecutors said Bannon publicly claimed that he was acting as a “volunteer” for “We’re Building the Wall.” Behind the scenes, Bannon allegedly helped transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to himself and his associates.
Bannon seemed to blame his situation on political motives.
“It’s a paradox, on the same day that the mayor of this city has a delegation at the border, they are persecuting the people here, who are trying to stop them at the border,” he told reporters outside the DA’s office Thursday.
“That’s all about 60 days out of the day,” he later said, referring to the November elections.
In recent months, several people close to Bannon have appeared before the state grand jury.
Manhattan prosecutors have subpoenaed bank records and quietly worked on the investigation over the past year while they investigated Trump and his real estate business, sources familiar with the matter previously told CNN. But the attorney general’s office postponed the indictment on Bannon until federal prosecutors had concluded their case against the three other defendants, who were not pardoned.
Bannon issued a statement late Tuesday calling the indictment partly “false accusations” and “nothing more than partisan weaponry of the criminal justice system.”
“I am proud to be a leading voice in protecting our borders and building a wall to keep our country safe from drugs and violent criminals,” he said in the statement, adding, “They are hunting all of us, not just President Trump. And myself. I will never stop fighting. In fact, I have not I start fighting yet. They will have to kill me first.”
A federal jury in July found Bannon guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6, 2021 US Capitol attack. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces a minimum sentence of 30 days in prison, according to Federal law.
This story has been updated with additional details.