Trump Pardon Won't Protect Bannon From New York Prosecutors
Ex-White House chief strategist and twice-convicted felon Steve Bannon's trial in New York for allegedly running a fraudulent scheme to bilk supporters of former President Donald Trump is less than a year away. And although Trump pardoned him before leaving office, that act of clemency offers the disgraced conspiracy theorist no legal protection,The Daily Beast's Jose Pagliery reported on Sunday.
Bannon, Pagliery recalled, "is accused of quietly enriching himself with donor money from a nativist GoFundMe campaign to build Trump's Mexico border wall. The case is essentially the exact same one as the federal proceedings two years earlier that, before trial, fell apart when Trump swooped in and saved him. But in New York now, it's only considered double jeopardy when a person has been fully prosecuted twice. That is, when someone was indicted and pleaded guilty—or, at the very least, had a jury sworn in."
Pagliery noted that "the federal prosecutors at the Southern District of New York, however, never got Bannon's case to trial. Trump used his powerful presidential authority to kill the investigation into his former White House chief strategist before federal prosecutors could get to that stage."
In 2019, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signed reforms into law that closed the so-called "egregious loophole" that would "prevent someone from being prosecuted twice for the same crime," Pagliery explained.
Cuomo did this "specifically because Trump started handing out pardons," John Jay College of Criminal Justice adjunct lecturer Diane Peress told The Daily Beast. "New York State took the position that these people need to be answerable to crimes they committed in New York State."
Trump, ex-prosecutor Todd Kaminsky added to the Beast, "was 'corruptly using the pardon power' to shield himself by saving his powerful friends."
All of this, Pagliery expounded, "means the Manhattan DA can go after the right-wing media personality for his role in 'We Build the Wall,' the GoFundMe that ludicrously promised to keep Latin American migrants out of the United States by amassing private funds to construct a wall at the southern border—even though the feds had proof that the small cadre of men leading the project had siphoned off donor funds."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.