Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump’s onetime adviser, is poised to surrender himself to authorities on Thursday as he is reportedly expected to be charged by New York state prosecutors.
The details of his indictment were kept under wraps, according to The Washington Post, but sources familiar with the case said it was connected to fraud and is similar to a federal fraud case brought against Bannon and his associates for a crowdfunding gambit aimed at building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
In that federal case, Bannon was alleged to have raised some $25 million for the “We Build the Wall” scheme while skimming $1 million off the top just for himself. He and his partners, according to federal prosecutors, used the funds to purchase a variety of luxury goods, including cars and jewelry. Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charges, but before the matter could go to trial, former President Donald Trump pardoned him.
That pardon only covered federal charges, not state ones like those now reportedly filed in New York.
Bannon has blasted the indictment as “phony,” and, as he has done with all of his previous indictments, claimed the charges were politically motivated.
Bannon was charged with contempt of Congress earlier this year after he refused to cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. After mounting a thin defense of his actions, a jury found Bannon guilty in just three hours on two charges, including willful failure to appear for testimony and willful failure to provide records.
He is expected to face sentencing in that matter on Oct. 21.
According to The Washington Post, state prosecutors at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office have been scrutinizing Bannon’s role in the wall fundraising campaign since shortly after Trump first pardoned him.
Bannon is expected to surrender himself to authorities on Thursday.
In the earlier federal case, Bannon’s associates—entrepreneur Andrew Badolato and U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage—pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering as well as tax and wire fraud. They entered their guilty pleas this April. Timothy Shea, a third associate and the owner of an energy drink company featuring a cartoon Trump on its cans, was charged and faced jurors alone this summer. Shea once marketed his beverages as being made with “ultra-hydrating liberal tears”
Jurors were deadlocked over Shea, however, 11 to 1, and the judge in the Southern District of New York who presided over the matter, Analisa Torres, ultimately declared a mistrial. The cause of the mistrial was due to a single juror who, according to widespread reports at the time, accused fellow jurors of being liberals who refused to hear evidence. This same juror said the fraud case was part of a “government witch hunt.”
Jurors were at a stalemate for nearly a week, sending notes to Torres about the trouble with the single juror to no avail. Prosecutors said at the time that they would pursue another trial against Shea since the evidence still held up.
In the federal case, prosecutors said Bannon, Kolfage, and Badolato stole huge sums from the private fundraising scheme for personal expenses, paying themselves and for other goods and services including fancy golf carts and cosmetic surgery. Prosecutors said Bannon also routed some of the cash to his own nonprofits.
“They are coming after all of us, not only President Trump and myself. I am never going to stop fighting. In fact, I have not yet begun to fight. They will have to kill me first,” Bannon said late Tuesday.
An attorney for Bannon could not immediately be reached for comment.