Prosecutors out of the Manhattan district attorney’s office — a state authority, not a federal one — are evidently targeting longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon over his involvement in a corrupt fundraising effort called “We Build the Wall.” That effort was meant, as its name suggests, to raise funds for the construction of southern border barriers, but donor money actually went to the personal interests of individuals — including Bannon — behind the whole thing.
Per a CNN report, “several close” associates of Bannon have been subpoenaed to testify to a grand jury as part of the New York investigation into the corrupt fundraising. The CNN report notes that the subpoenas indicate — among other ramifications of the reported developments — that the Manhattan investigation “could lead to possible charges” for Bannon in relation to the basically brazenly fraudulent fundraising endeavor. Then-President Donald Trump provided a presidential pardon for Bannon covering federal charges related to the “We Build the Wall” nonsense… but presidential pardons don’t cover state-level matters, just federal ones. The Manhattan-area district attorney’s office — the same entity behind a high-profile criminal probe of the Trump company — began its Bannon investigation after the Trump pardon.
A spokeswoman for the current Manhattan-area district attorney, Alvin Bragg, declined to comment on the matter of the newly revealed grand jury subpoenas when reached by CNN. Robert Costello, a lawyer for Bannon, told CNN he was “unaware of these matters.” It’s a lot of donor money at issue here — overall, “We Build the Wall” brought in over $25 million before the corrupt fundraising campaign finally ground to a halt. Bannon personally had hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal costs covered by money from the fundraising effort, per federal allegations. Those supporting “We Build the Wall” gave their money under the cover of claims from people behind the whole thing that it would all go towards the wall construction effort. It’s unclear at this point who exactly among Bannon’s associates was subpoenaed, although a source for CNN said the list included people in the Trump ally’s “immediate circle.”
In the meantime, CNN reports the Manhattan investigators working on the case have put off finalizing their choice of whether to charge Bannon until after federal proceedings against three other people involved in “We Build the Wall” draw to a close. Two of the other three individuals previously targeted by federal authorities for “We Build the Wall”-related corruption have pleaded guilty; the third, Timothy Shea, opted to head to trial. Bannon, meanwhile, is himself heading to trial in the near future on federal criminal charges of contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.