Steve Bannon charged with fraud in border wall campaign

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10:  White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon attends a ceremony in the Rose Garden where Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch was administered the judicial oath at the White House April 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Gorsuch, 49, was sworn in as the 113th Associate Justice in a private ceremony at the Supreme Court.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Steve Bannon charged with fraud in border wall fundraising
02:23 - Source: CNN

What you need to know

  • Steve Bannon pleaded not guilty after federal prosecutors charged him and three others with defrauding donors in a border wall fundraising campaign.
  • Bannon, Trump’s former campaign adviser, was arrested on a boat off the Connecticut coast.
  • Read the indictment here.

Our live coverage has ended, but you can read more on how it all unfolded below.

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Steve Bannon was charged with fraud today. Here's what we know.

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon exits the Manhattan Federal Court on August 20 in the Manhattan borough of New York City.

Steve Bannon, President Trump’s former campaign adviser, faced federal prosecutors today after he was arrested on a boat.

Here’s what you need to know about Bannon’s legal troubles:

  • The charges: Bannon and three others were charged with defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of a fundraising campaign purportedly aimed at supporting Trump’s border wall — making him the latest of Trump’s associates to find himself on the wrong side of the law.
  • His court appearance: Bannon’s lawyer entered a plea of not guilty to the charges contained in the unsealed indictment today. Appearing by video conference, Bannon wore a white mask and a button down shirt. He was sunburned and rocked back and forth in his chair. Bannon’s image was projected on the screen in one box with a law enforcement official in the corner of the screen.
  • Where Bannon was found: He had been on a mega-yacht in Long Island Sound near Connecticut for the last several weeks, people familiar with the situation said. Bannon would tell people he was “at sea.” The Coast Guard transported agents from the Department of Justice to the yacht and performed a safety sweep of the vessel just before the arrest, Chief Warrant Officer Mariana O’Leary told CNN.  
  • What it took to arrest him: O’Leary said the mission involved a 45-foot response boat from its station in New London, Connecticut, and a multi-mission helicopter from its base at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The MH-60J helicopter helped officials determine where the yacht was located, O’Leary said. She described the boat as a medium-sized vessel often used for search and rescue and law enforcement duties.  
  • Bannon’s relationship with Trump: Bannon was once a big voice inside the White House as Trump’s chief strategist, until he was ousted by the President in August 2017. He had helped run Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was credited as a driving force behind Trump’s populist appeal, nationalist ideology and controversial policies. Trump fired him in 2017, and the two had a falling-out in 2018 after Bannon was quoted calling an infamous 2016 meeting of a Russian lawyer and Trump campaign officials “treasonous.”

Bannon: "This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall"

Steve Bannon leaves court in New York on Thursday, Aug. 20.

Steve Bannon exited the Federal courthouse in Manhattan moments ago and removed his face mask as soon as he got through the doors’ threshold.

He waved at supporters before talking to reporters.

“This entire fiasco is to stop people who want to build the wall,” Bannon told reporters before departing in a vehicle.

Bannon pleaded not guilty earlier today after federal prosecutors charged him and three others with defrauding donors in a border wall fundraising campaign.