Stephen K. Bannon, a longtime adviser to former President Donald J. Trump, is scheduled to stand trial in May of next year for what prosecutors say was his role in defrauding Americans who paid money toward the construction of a southern border wall, a judge said Thursday.
The judge, Juan M. Merchan, said that while the May 27, 2024 trial was later than he had anticipated — he had originally considered a November date — he was satisfied with the schedule proposed by Mr. Bannon’s lawyers as long as prosecutors with the Manhattan district attorney’s office were satisfied. A prosecutor, Daniel Passeser, said that he was.
The date means that Mr. Trump himself will stand trial two months earlier than his former adviser, if both cases proceed as planned.
Prosecutors say Mr. Bannon played a key role in an organization called We Build the Wall, which brought in millions of dollars through its promise to make the oft-promised border wall a reality.
Mr. Trump is charged in an unrelated case. The district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, has accused him of orchestrating a series of false records to cover up a hush-money payment made to a porn star on his behalf during his first presidential campaign. Mr. Trump’s trial date, March 25, 2024, was disclosed earlier this week. Justice Merchan is also presiding over that case.
Mr. Bannon faces five felony counts including money laundering and conspiracy, and could face a maximum sentence of five to 15 years on the most serious charge.
He had been charged by federal prosecutors in 2020 for conduct related to the border wall project, but was pardoned by Mr. Trump before the case could go to trial. Because the pardon came before a trial, the Constitution’s bar on prosecuting the same case twice — known as double jeopardy — did not stop the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, from bringing the new charges.
Mr. Bannon was represented at the Thursday hearing by three lawyers: John Carman, Susan Carman and Harlan Protass. They must file any motions in the case by Oct. 6. Prosecutors must respond by Jan. 5 and Justice Merchan will determine the outcome of the motions on April 29.
On his way out of the court building, Mr. Bannon was asked about Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and the rollout of his presidential campaign on Twitter on Wednesday evening, which was marred by technical errors. Mr. Bannon, who remains loyal to Mr. Trump, said that the rollout had been a “complete disaster” and that Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, was also a “complete disaster.”
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