Bannon allegedly pocketed some $1 million in donations, which federal prosecutors with the Southern District of New York have said he used to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own personal expenses. In 2020, federal agents arrested Bannon on the charges while he was aboard a luxury yacht off the coast of Connecticut. He pleaded not guilty, but was dropped from the case after Trump issued a pardon in the twilight hours of his presidency.
Two of his federal codefendants pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy. Their sentencing scheduled for this week was pushed back to December. A mistrial was declared when a jury reporting for a third time could not reach a unanimous verdict.
Presidential pardons apply only to federal charges and cannot shield Bannon from a state prosecution. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance opened a state investigation that his successor, Alvin Bragg, continued when he took office last year.
As Bannon arrived Thursday morning, some onlookers lobbed insults at the far-right iconoclast, who has stoked controversy at frequent turns. In the past, Bannon has suggested Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, should be executed. He has also echoed Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
“Stop hurting America, you greasy grifter,” one woman yelled as he entered the building, his brief remarks drowned out by the heckling.
Bannon, who faces arraignment Thursday afternoon, was separately found guilty on contempt of Congress charges earlier this year after he defied a subpoena related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.