Judge dismisses charges against Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon

Vintage Old Justice Courthouse Column. Neoclassical colonnade with corinthian columns as part of a public building resembling a Greek or Roman temple

On August 17, 2020, a grand jury in the Southern District of New York returned an indictment against Brian Kolfage, Stephen Bannon, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea, alleging that they conspired to commit the crimes of
wire fraud and money laundering. Bannon was the White House Chief Strategist under President Donald J. Trump.

The Indictment claimed that December 2018, through a crowdfunding website, Kolfage initiated an online fundraising
campaign that generated more than $20 million. The campaign planned to donate the money to the federal government for the construction of a wall along the southern border of the United States.

Within a month, after questions arose concerning Kolfage’s background and the campaign’s stated purpose, the crowdfunding website suspended the campaign, warning Kolfage “that unless he identified a legitimate non-profit organization into which those funds could be transferred, the crowdfunding website would return the funds.”

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U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres announced this week that all criminal charges against Bannon have been dismissed due to his January pardon by President Trump.

According to the Supreme Court, “Pardon implies guilt. If there be no guilt, there is no ground for forgiveness. It is an appeal to executive clemency. It is asked as a matter of favor to the guilty. It is granted not of right but of grace. A party is acquitted on the ground of innocence; he is pardoned through favor. And upon this very ground it is that the pardoning power is never vested in a judge.”

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