Politics

Prosecutors collected 4 terabytes of evidence related to Steve Bannon fraud investigation

Attorneys for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon were unable to convince a judge Tuesday that they should be given a year to go through four terabytes of data and documents collected by prosecutors in their investigation. 

Instead, New York County Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan gave Bannon four months to file his first motions in the criminal fraud case.

Bannon was charged in September with money laundering, conspiracy and a scheme to defraud, for his alleged role in an organization that raised millions on the promise they would privately build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

In the indictment, Bannon and the group, called We Build the Wall, are accused of pocketing some of those donations. Their trial will be scheduled for November 2023, Merchan said Tuesday.

Bannon’s attorneys asked for a year to process the information, saying there’s “no possible way we can go over the materials” in just a few months, but Merchan gave them until February 6, 2023.

Bannon, who was ordered in September to surrender his passport and attend all hearings in the case, arrived in a green jacket and untucked black button-down shirt. He has been charged with two counts of money laundering in the second degree, two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree, a scheme to defraud in the first degree and conspiracy in the fifth degree.

Asked by a CBS News reporter if he believed any We Build the Wall executives cooperated against him prior to his indictment, Bannon replied, “I don’t know.”

Bannon added that prosecutors “haven’t shown me anything yet.”

Steve Bannon
Steve Bannon outside a Manhattan criminal courtroom on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.

Graham Kates


Bannon has entered a not guilty plea in the case and previously called the charges “nonsense.” 

Bannon was indicted on federal charges in a similar case in August 2020 along with three other people associated with We Build the Wall. Bannon was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in the federal case, in which two others, Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, have entered guilty pleas. Proceedings for another defendant, Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial and Shea will be retried, according to federal prosecutors.

An attorney for We Build the Wall, which also entered a not guilty plea in the New York case, said during the hearing Tuesday that the organization may not have enough funds to pay for his services. 

Bannon’s indictment comes as criminal investigations hover over many in former President Donald Trump’s orbit.

Merchan is also presiding over the Trump Organization’s fraud and tax evasion case, which goes to trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on Oct. 24. The company has entered a not guilty plea in the case. A block south is a civil court, where another judge has for three years overseen proceedings that led to a massive lawsuit filed on Sept. 21 by the New York attorney general, who is seeking $250 million and an end to Trump doing business in New York. The Trumps and their company deny the allegations in the lawsuit.

Two miles away, in federal court in Brooklyn, Thomas Barrack, a billionaire friend of Trump’s and 2016 inauguration committee chair, is currently on trial on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in an effort to sway U.S. foreign policy in favor of the United Arab Emirates’ interests. Barrack denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.

The ornate stone lobby in that courthouse, the Raymond J. Dearie Atrium, is named for a semi-retired federal judge who was recently called upon to serve as a special master in a federal lawsuit filed by Trump. He sued the U.S. Department of Justice in August after it served a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, seizing White House files, some of which were labeled “Top Secret.”

Bannon was found guilty in July of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena to appear before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He could face up to two years in prison when he’s sentenced this month. 

Federal investigators probing the Jan. 6 attack have subpoenaed more than 40 Trump allies and supporters, including several associated with the fundraising PAC Save America. No charges have been filed in connection with that investigation.

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