Steve Bannon is expected to surrender Thursday to face New York state charges related to his fundraising effort to build a wall along the southern US border, people familiar with the matter say.
The state charges, which have been returned in an indictment, are based on the same conduct Bannon was charged with by federal prosecutors in 2020. Then-President Donald Trump pardoned Bannon on the federal fraud charges related to the alleged scheme as he was leaving office. Presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations.
Robert Costello, an attorney for Bannon, said Wednesday that the former Trump aide is expected to plead not guilty when he is arraigned on the charges.
The Washington Post first reported Bannon’s plans to surrender.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office opened an investigation into Bannon and the crowd-fundraising effort called “We Build The Wall” after the pardon.
In recent months, several people close to Bannon were brought before the state grand jury, CNN previously reported.
Bannon issued a statement late Tuesday, in part calling the indictment “phony charges” and “nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system.”
“I am proud to be a leading voice on protecting our borders and building a wall to keep our country safe from drugs and violent criminals,” he said inthe statement, adding: “They are coming after all of us, not only Present Trump and myself. I am never going to stop fighting. In fact, I have not yet begun to fight. They will have to kill me first.”
As CNN previously reported, federal prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had charged Bannon and three others, alleging they had defrauded donors in the border wall effort, which raised more than $25 million.
Bannon was charged with diverting more than $1 million to pay an alleged co-conspirator and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal expenses. Prosecutors alleged that the donors, including some in New York, were falsely told that all the money contributed would go toward the construction effort.
Manhattan prosecutors subpoenaed bank records and quietly worked on the investigation over the past year as they investigated Trump and his real estate business, sources familiar with the matter previously told CNN. But the district attorney’s office deferred a charging decision on Bannon until federal prosecutors concluded their case against his three co-defendants, who were not pardoned.
In April, two of the alleged co-conspirators in the border wall effort, Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Kolfage also pleaded guilty to two counts of filing a false tax return and one count of wire fraud in connection with filing a false tax return.
Timothy Shea, a fourth man charged in the fundraising effort, was indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy for the alleged scheme, but a judge in June declared a mistrial after the jury informed her multiple times that it was deadlocked.
This story has been updated with additional details.