President Donald Trump issued a list of about 140 pardons early Wednesday morning, which includes Steven Bannon, his former strategist and campaign CEO.
A pardon absolves those who have committed federal crimes. Those charged by state and local agencies are not eligible for a pardon. Among others pardoned on Wednesday morning include rappers Kodak Black, Lil' Wayne, politicians Rep. Duke Cunningham, R-California and Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Arizona.
The practice of issuing controversial pardons in the final days and week in office is not uncommon. For instance, in 2017, President Barack Obama's pardon of Chelsea Manning and Bill Clinton's 2001 pardon of his half-brother Roger Clinton were debated at the time.
Bannon was among those indicted August 2020 on charges of defrauding donors. According to the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York, Bannon was accused of defrauding supporters of Trump for thousands of dollars.
Bannon was allegedly part of a crowdfunding project known as “We Build the Wall” that raised more than $25 million.
“(Bannon) and others orchestrated a scheme to defraud hundreds of thousands of donors, including donors in the Southern District of New York, in connection with an online crowdfunding campaign ultimately known as “We Build The Wall” that raised more than $25 million to build a wall along the southern border of the United States,” prosecutors wrote.
“The defendants allegedly engaged in fraud when they misrepresented the true use of donated funds,” Inspector-in-Charge Philip R. Bartlett said at the time of Bannon’s indictment. “As alleged, not only did they lie to donors, they schemed to hide their misappropriation of funds by creating sham invoices and accounts to launder donations and cover up their crimes, showing no regard for the law or the truth. This case should serve as a warning to other fraudsters that no one is above the law, not even a disabled war veteran or a millionaire political strategist.”
Bannon was removed from Twitter in November days after the presidential election after he suggested beheading leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Video of the comments were also removed from YouTube.
"I'd put the heads on pikes. Right. I'd put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats," Bannon said, according to CNN. "You either get with the program or you are gone."