Steve Bannon's Wall Fund Fraud Trial Postponed

Bannon's legal troubles escalate with new state-level charges.

by Nouman Rasool
Steve Bannon's Wall Fund Fraud Trial Postponed
© Curtis Means-Pool/Getty Images

Perhaps the most notorious of former President Donald Trump's close allies, Steve Bannon, will be appearing in a New York courthouse on Wednesday to address charges of fraud stemming from a fundraising campaign that was designed to pay for construction of a U.S.

border wall with Mexico. The legal showdown will unfold in New York's Supreme Criminal Court in front of Judge Juan Merchan. The money laundering and conspiracy charges against the former White House senior adviser are in connection with about $15 million allegedly taken through the "We Build the Wall" campaign, according to prosecutors.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorneys are expected to make a request to dismiss the case as part of this pretrial motion hearing. The trial was due to begin in May but has been pushed back to September because Judge Merchan has had to sit in on Trump's hush-money trial, which is now expected to continue for at least several more weeks—court is closed every Wednesday, so it falls on a Monday holiday this week.

Newsweek said they attempted to contact Bannon for a response but have heard nothing.

September 2022 Charges

Key September 2022 developments: • Bannon got charged at the state level on parallel charges for a GoFundMe campaign he designed to fulfill then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 campaign promise of building a border wall.

Notably, the state charges are not subject to the presidential pardon Trump granted to Bannon in January 2021, just before leaving office. This Bannon case has come on top of more legal troubles, where he was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress for ignoring a subpoena by the House Select Committee inquiring into the January 6 Capitol attack back in July 2022; he remains out of jail pending the outcome of an appeal.

The plot thickens in this case as Brian Kolfage is the co-founder of We Build the Wall and a U.S. An Air Force veteran was sentenced to more than four years in prison in April 2023, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, among other charges.

Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, his accomplices, also faced the music for their roles. On the other hand, Badolato pled guilty in a three-year wire-fraud conspiracy sentence, while Shea was found guilty on all charges, obtaining for himself a 63-month jail term, along with substantial financial restitution and forfeiture.

Prosecutors say Kolfage, Badolato, and Shea devised a conspiracy to launder the donated money through a series of different entities and accounts—all controlled by Kolfage—using fake invoices and phony contracts in an attempt to hide what they were doing.