Former President Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon said Tuesday that he expects to be charged soon in a state criminal case in New York City.
According to a source familiar with the situation, Bannon, 68, intends to surrender on Thursday. The individual requested anonymity in order to discuss an ongoing investigation.
According to the Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, the state criminal case would be similar to an earlier attempted federal prosecution in which Bannon was accused of defrauding donors who gave money to fund a border wall on the United States’ southern border.
When Trump pardoned Bannon, the federal case ended abruptly, before trial.
Late Tuesday, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
Bannon claimed in a statement that District Attorney Alvin Bragg “has now decided to pursue phony charges against me 60 days before the midterm election,” accusing the Democrat of targeting him because he and his radio show are popular among Trump’s Republican supporters.
“The SDNY did the exact same thing to try to take me out of the election in August 2020,” Bannon said, referring to his arrest months before Trump’s re-election loss.
Federal agents apprehended Bannon from a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut and charged him with stealing more than $1 million in wall donations.
“It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now,” said the former White House strategist. “This is nothing more than partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
When Trump pardoned Bannon on his final day in office in January 2021, the federal case against him was dropped.
In April, two other men involved in the “We Build the Wall” project pleaded guilty. They were supposed to be sentenced this week, but that was recently pushed back to December. In June, a third defendant’s trial ended in a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.
A president can only pardon federal crimes, not state offenses, but that doesn’t give state prosecutors free rein to prosecute similar cases.
In 2019, then-Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. filed state mortgage fraud charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in what was widely interpreted as a bid to avoid a pardon.
However, a judge dismissed the case on the grounds of double jeopardy, determining that it was too similar to a federal case that resulted in Manafort’s conviction. (Trump later pardoned Manafort.)
While Manafort’s New York case was pending, the state relaxed its double jeopardy laws, allowing state prosecutors to charge anyone granted a presidential pardon for similar federal crimes.
Bannon’s case is unique in that he was dropped from the federal case during its early stages. In most cases, double jeopardy only becomes a consideration after a person has been convicted or acquitted of a crime.
In a separate case not covered by Trump’s pardon, Bannon was convicted in July on contempt charges for refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurgency at the U.S. Capitol. He will be sentenced in October and could face up to two years in federal prison.