NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday he expects to be indicted soon in a New York state criminal case.
Bannon, 68, plans to surrender on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, said the state criminal case would resemble an earlier attempted federal prosecution in which Bannon was accused of defrauding donors who gave money to finance a wall on the US southern border.
That federal case ended abruptly, before trial, when Trump pardoned Bannon.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined to comment late Tuesday.
In a statement, Bannon said U.S. Attorney Alvin Bragg “has now decided to bring false charges against me 60 days before the midterm elections,” accusing the Democratic prosecutor of targeting him because he and his radio show are popular with Republican supporters. Trump.
“The SDNY did the exact same thing in August 2020 to try to get me out of the election,” Bannon said, referring to his arrest months before Trump’s re-election.
Federal agents pulled Bannon from a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and arrested him on charges of embezzling more than $1 million in wall donations.
“It didn’t work then, it certainly won’t work now,” the former White House general said. “This is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
Bannon, who had pleaded not guilty, was removed from the federal case when Trump pardoned him on his last day in office in January 2021.
Two other men involved in the We Build the Wall project pleaded guilty in April. He was scheduled to be sentenced this week, but that was recently postponed to December. The trial of a third defendant ended in a mistrial in June after jurors said they could not reach a unanimous verdict.
A president can only pardon federal crimes, not state offenses, but that doesn’t mean state-level prosecutors are allowed to try similar cases.
In 2019, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. brought federal mortgage fraud charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in what was widely seen as an attempt to hedge against a possible pardon.
But a judge dismissed the case on double jeopardy grounds, finding it too similar to a federal case that led to Manafort’s conviction. (Manafort was later pardoned by Trump).
While Manafort’s case was pending in New York, New York relaxed its double jeopardy protections, ensuring that state-level prosecutors could bring charges against anyone granted a presidential pardon for similar federal crimes.
Bannon’s case is different because he withdrew from the federal case in its early stages. In most cases, double jeopardy is only a factor when a person has been convicted or acquitted of a crime.
In another case not covered by Trump’s pardon, Bannon was convicted in July of contempt charges for defying a congressional subpoena from the House committee investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. He is scheduled to be sentenced in October and faces up to two years in prison.
Tucker reported from Washington.