On Thursday, August 20, 2020; Steve Bannon, Trump’s controversial former adviser, gets arrested for alleged fraud in the construction of the wall with Mexico.
Former White House counselor Steve Bannon, the architect of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign four years ago and chief strategist of his Administration upon his arrival at the White House, has been arrested on Thursday, August 20, along with three other people, accused of fraud campaign donors.
Federal prosecutors allege that Bannon (Norfolk, Virginia, 1953) and the other defendants “orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors,” as part of an Internet fundraising campaign called We Build The Wall, which managed to collect more than 25 million dollars to build the wall on the border with Mexico promised by Donald Trump.
The defendants, according to acting Manhattan prosecutor Audrey Strauss, “took advantage of [donor’s] interest in financing the border wall to obtain millions of dollars, under the false pretense that they would be spent on construction.”
Steve Bannon was one of the founders in 2007 of the news website Breitbart News, which he himself defined as “a platform of the alternative right”, and is widely known as some kind of movement of the extreme right and white nationalism, a socal sector that helped bring Donald Trump to the White House.
He was on the board of Cambridge Analytica, the shady company implicated in the Facebook data collection scandal for election purposes, which deployed its controversial techniques in the UK Brexit campaign and in the 2016 Republican campaign.
In May of that year, he was appointed head of Trump’s campaign, he was named chief strategist of his administration. He was fired in August 2017 and recounted the chaos of those early months of Trump’s White House in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.
Since then, he has supported conservative candidates who challenge the Republican establishment in the United States and tried, without as much success as at home, to organize a cohesive right-wing populist movement across Europe.
Bannon is scheduled to appear before the judge in New York this Thursday. The other three detainees are Brian Kolfage, a 38-year Air Force veteran from Florida; financier Andrew Badolato, 56, also from Florida, and Timothy Shea, 49, from Colorado.
The defendants, the prosecutor defends, promised the donors that their money would not go to pay “salaries or compensation”, but would be used entirely to build the wall that the president wants to build to try to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico. But the promise to the donors was false, maintains the State, and the defendants shared, through intervening organizations and fronts, part of the money raised.