(NEW YORK) — Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon will stand trial in May 2024 for allegedly defrauding donors to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising campaign, a Manhattan judge said Thursday.
Judge Juan Merchan set a trial date of May 27 of next year — two months after former President Donald Trump is set to stand trial before the same judge for allegedly falsifying business records related to Stormy Daniels’ hush money payment.
As president, Trump pardoned Bannon on his last night in office after Bannon was indicted on federal charges of defrauding donors to the “We Build the Wall” crowdfunding effort to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The state charges Bannon now faces were brought by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and allege that Bannon and “We Build the Wall” defrauded 430 Manhattan-based donors out of $33,600. Across New York state, there were more than 11,000 donors defrauded out of more than $730,000, according to the indictment.
Bannon pleaded not guilty to the charges in September.
Prosecutors say “We Build the Wall” raised $15 million from donors across the country based on “false pretenses,” citing a pledge organizers made that the group’s president would take no salary. Instead, the campaign’s president, Brian Kolfage, received a salary of $250,000 that was secretly funneled to him by Bannon, prosecutors say.
The indictment quotes Bannon telling donors at a June 24, 2019, fundraising event, “Remember, all the money you give goes to building the wall.”
If convicted, Bannon faces two counts of money laundering, which carry a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison, as well as additional felony counts of conspiracy and scheme to defraud along with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to defraud.
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