Media executive, political strategist and former advisor to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon has been indicted on charges of fraud. The former Breitbart News chairman allegedly stole from funds that were raised to build Trump’s border wall.
Bannon was one of four people charged by federal prosecutors in the case. They allegedly appropriated funds from the $25 million “build-the-wall” GoFundMe fundraising effort. Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea were the perpetrators accused in charges that were unsealed in Manhattan, according to USA Today.
Bannon was taken into custody while on his 150-foot yacht off the coast of Connecticut at 07:15 on Thursday morning, with the other three accused parties also being arrested in the morning.
Bannon appeared in an afternoon court hearing where a federal magistrate approved a $5 million bail bond, which was secured through putting up $1.75 million in cash and assets. Bannon entered a not-guilty plea through his lawyers.
Bannon’s arrest for fraud, less than three months before the presidential elections, will undoubtedly be a blow for Donald Trump’s campaign, with the border wall being one of his most notable promises in his 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton. It’s just one of several campaign promises that weren’t delivered and the appropriation of funds reveals the political rot, financial interests and corruption that has plagued Trump’s administration and he’s been hung out to dry.
Trump, however, has said he didn’t like the idea of privately funding the border wall.
“I know nothing about the project other than I didn’t like when I read about it, I didn’t like it,” he said, according to Crooks and liars. “I said this is for government – this isn’t for private people and it sounded like showboating and I think I let my opinion be very strongly stated at the time. I didn’t like it- it was show boating and maybe looking for funds.”
One of the accused, Kris Kobach, contradicted Trump’s claims, saying that he approved the private fundraising effort.
“President Trump gave the undertaking his “blessing” in a telephone conversation Wednesday night, according to Mr. Kobach,”
For more news about current affairs in the United States, visit our News & Politics section.