Bannon’s Fraud Indictment Dismissed by Judge Over U.S. Objection

Stephen Bannon’s criminal indictment for fraud was dismissed by a judge who ruled the action was required by former President Donald Trump’s pardon of his one-time adviser.

U.S. prosecutors opposed the move, although they didn’t dispute the validity of the pardon or the fact that it ends the case against Bannon. The government had asked U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan to direct the court clerk to remove him as a defendant in the case, which is going forward against his co-defendants.

Torres said in a ruling Monday that it’s not the practice of the court to remove a defendant without a resolution of the indictment. She noted that a pardon doesn’t make a defendant innocent of the crime.

“To the contrary, from the country’s earliest days, courts, including the Supreme Court, have acknowledged that even if there is no formal admission of guilt, the issuance of a pardon may “carr[y] an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it,’” she wrote, quoting a U.S. Supreme Court case from 1915.

Bannon and three others were charged last year with defrauding donors to a foundation that was privately funding construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The case is: U.S. v. Kolfage, 20-cr-00412, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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