US judge rejects indictment against former Trump adviser Bannon, cites pardon –

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US judge rejects indictment against former Trump adviser Bannon, cites pardon – fr


NEW YORK – Steve Bannon, former chief strategist to former US President Donald Trump and recipient of a presidential pardon, on Tuesday won the dismissal of an indictment accusing him of defrauding donors to a fund to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan said the dismissal was “the right way” in light of the pardon Bannon received in the final hours of Trump’s presidency.

Prosecutors had argued that instead of dismissing the indictment, the judge should simply dismiss Bannon as one of the four defendants. The defendants were charged with allegedly siphoning hundreds of thousands of dollars from the US $ 25 million “We Build the Wall” crowdfunding campaign.

But the judge said the pardon was valid and that even if Bannon did not formally admit his guilt, “the issuance of a pardon may result in an imputation of guilt; acceptance of a confession ”. Prosecutors had said the grace “spoke for itself” and provided all the “finality” to which Bannon was entitled.

The office of American lawyer Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

But the judge said the pardon was valid and that even if Bannon did not formally admit his guilt, “the issuance of a pardon may result in an imputation of guilt; acceptance of a confession ”.

Prosecutors had said the grace “spoke for itself” and provided all the “finality” to which Bannon was entitled.

The office of American lawyer Audrey Strauss in Manhattan declined to comment.

Bannon was “delighted” that the indictment was dismissed, his lawyer Robert Costello said after speaking with him.

“She definitely got the right result,” Costello said, referring to the judge. “A pardon does not rewrite history… But in this case, we are dealing with a person presumed innocent by the Constitution of the United States and whose plea was not guilty, and nothing changes that story either. “

It wasn’t immediately clear how the dismissal will affect Bannon’s co-defendants, or if they might try to blame Bannon as they defend themselves.

The defendants include Brian Kolfage, an Air Force veteran and triple amputee who led the We Build the Wall campaign.

“I have nothing to say about the situation,” Kolfage’s lawyer Harvey Steinberg said in an interview. “It’s completely out of our hands and at the discretion of the executive branch. “

Bannon, 67, has championed the right-wing “America First” populism and staunch opposition to immigration that have become hallmarks of the Trump presidency.

(Editing by Leslie Adler and Bill Berkrot)

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