Judge Dismisses Bannon Case, Says Pardon Implies Guilt

He was accused of ripping off donors to 'We Build the Wall' campaign
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 25, 2021 5:25 PM CDT
Bannon Indictment Dismissed Months After Trump Pardon
n this Aug. 20, 2020 photo Steve Bannon speaks with reporters in New York after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall.   (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)

Four months after Donald Trump issued a pardon in the final hours of his presidency, the fraud case against his former chief strategist has been dismissed. US District Judge Analisa Torres ruled Tuesday that the Trump pardon of Steve Bannon was valid and dismissing an indictment accusing him of defrauding donors to a "We Build the Wall" campaign was "the proper course," reports Reuters. Prosecutors said Bannon and three other men defrauded hundreds of thousands of people who donated money to a private campaign to build a border wall, with Bannon allegedly receiving $1 million.

The dismissal follows month of legal wrangling over how the pardon should be treated while the case was unresolved, the Washington Post reports. Bannon lawyer Robert Costello argued that the indictment should be dismissed, but prosecutors said the judge should "administratively terminate" the case by dismissing Bannon as a defendant while leaving the possibility of future action open. Bannon's three alleged co-conspirators did not receive pardons and will still go on trial. In her ruling, the judge noted that Bannon's pardon implies guilt, the New York Daily News reports. "Issuance of a pardon may carry an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it," she wrote. (More Steve Bannon stories.)

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