Prosecutors are arguing towards dismissing a federal fraud and money-laundering indictment towards former White House strategist Steve Bannon — though Donald Trump pardoned him earlier than the president left workplace.
The battle comes as CNN reported Wednesday that Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. had subpoenaed data associated to the identical felony allegations towards Bannon. Trump can solely subject pardons for federal, not state or native, felony instances.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicolas Roose argued in a two-page letter Thursday to Judge Analisa Torres of the Southern District of New York that Trump’s pardon eliminated punishment for Bannon within the federal case towards him — however not the felony indictment. The argument was in response to Bannon’s transfer earlier this week to dismiss the federal case.
Bannon was indicted for allegedly pocketing about $1 million from the nonprofit charity We Build the Wall. The group raised near $25 million, largely in small-dollar donations from Trump supporters, promising it could all be used to assist assemble the wall on the Mexican border.
The charity’s officers Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea didn’t get a presidential pardon and are awaiting trial on comparable prices.
A pardon is “an executive action that mitigates or sets aside punishment for a criminal offense,“ Roos wrote. But the indictment ought to stand, he mentioned.
“The fact that Bannon was pardoned does not extinguish the fact that a grand jury found probable cause to believe that he committed the offenses set forth in the Indictment, nor does it undercut the evidence of his involvement therein which the Government expects to elicit as part of its presentation at trial,” the letter says.
“Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”
Presumably, the federal indictments and proof towards Bannon may very well be recycled in a state motion, which isn’t protected by his pardon.
But the technique to guard the federal indictments in the meanwhile might additionally find yourself being a entice for Bannon, who has proclaimed his innocence.
If he formally accepts Trump’s pardon, it’s primarily an act of contrition within the Build the Wall case, former U.S. District Judge John S. Martin and former counselor to the particular Watergate prosecutor Philip Allen Lacovara wrote final month in The Washington Post. Not solely would that harm him in a state case, but it surely may very well be “financially costly” in lawsuits filed towards Bannon to get well funds, they famous.
And with a pardon to guard him in a federal crime, he may be ordered to testify towards his former co-defendants — and others who could also be recognized sooner or later.
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