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Judge says Steve Bannon will stand trial for 'We Build the Wall fraud' next November

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 10/4/2022 Rob Crilly, Senior U.S. Political Reporter For Dailymail.Com and Associated Press

Steve Bannon arrived in New York court on Tuesday morning declaring he planned to destroy the Democratic Party, before being told he will stand trial for fraud late next year.

Donald Trump's former adviser previously pleaded not guilty to two counts of money laundering, three counts of conspiracy, and one count of scheming to defraud related to his 'We Build the Wall' not-for-profit scheme.

Bannon has repeatedly cast the charges as a political plot to silence him.

'We're going to destroy the Democrat Party as a national political institution,' he said as he arrived for the hearing at Manhattan's state court.

He was greeted by two protesters.

One held a '#Greasy Grifter' banner above her head, while another held a picture of Trump behind bars with a sign saying, 'No one is above the law.'

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon arrived at New York Supreme Court for a hearing on Tuesday morning in a case related to his 'We Build The Wall' scheme © Provided by Daily Mail Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon arrived at New York Supreme Court for a hearing on Tuesday morning in a case related to his 'We Build The Wall' scheme Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told Bannon his trial will start in November 2023, dismissing a request for a date in 2024 © Provided by Daily Mail Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan told Bannon his trial will start in November 2023, dismissing a request for a date in 2024

During the hearing, Acting Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan dismissed Bannon's request for a trial in 2024.

He set no firm date, but said it would begin in November next year - when the 2024 presidential race will be starting to heat up and when Trump's own company could be in the dock in New York.

Merchan also gave Bannon's legal team until February to comb through the evidence.

Prosecutors say they've turned over about four terabytes of material — the size equivalent of millions of written pages or hundreds of hours of video. 

The charges relate to 'We Build the Wall,' which Bannon set up to raise money for about five miles of border fencing in Texas and New Mexico.

Bannon promised that all donations would be used for construction costs.

However, prosecutors allege that Bannon funneled more than $100,000 Brian Kolfage, the organization's president, who had promised not to take a salary.

They also claim that money was transferred to accounts controlled by Bannon.

The plan was to fund five miles of border wall in Texas and New Mexico © Provided by Daily Mail The plan was to fund five miles of border wall in Texas and New Mexico 'We're going to destroy the Democrat Party as a national political institution,' Bannon told reporters as he arrived for the hearing at Manhattan's state court © Provided by Daily Mail 'We're going to destroy the Democrat Party as a national political institution,' Bannon told reporters as he arrived for the hearing at Manhattan's state court

'Bannon took advantage of his donors' political views to secure millions of dollars which he then misappropriated. Mr. Bannon lied to his donors to enrich himself and his friends,' Letitia James, New York attorney general, said when Bannon appeared in court last month. 

Bannon was hit with federal charges in 2020 in relation to the same allegations. 

However, he was pardoned by Trump just before he left office.

The case is not Bannon's only legal problem.

In July he was convicted of Contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with subpoena issued by the congressional committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol last year. 

He is due to be sentenced later this month.

One of his lawyers, at a previous hearing on the fraud charges, insisted his client would fight the allegations against him.  

David Schoen said: 'He is not guilty of anything that he's charged with or of any crime.'

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