Lawyers for former Trump adviser Steve Bannon failed to convince a judge on Tuesday that they should be given a year to review four terabytes of data and documents collected by prosecutors in their investigation.
Instead, New York County Superior Court Judge Juan Merchan gave Bannon four months to file his first motions in the criminal fraud case.
Bannon was charged in September with money laundering, conspiracy and conspiracy to defraud, for his alleged role in an organization that raised millions by promising to privately build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
In the indictment, Bannon and the group, called We Build the Wall, are accused of pocketing some of those donations. Their trial will be scheduled for November 2023, Merchan said Tuesday.
Bannon’s lawyers asked for a year to process the information, saying there was “no possible way we could review the materials” in just a few months, but Merchan gave them until February 6, 2023.
Bannon, who was ordered in September to surrender his passport and attend all hearings in the case, arrived in a green jacket and unbuttoned black button-down shirt. He has been charged with two counts of money laundering in the second degree, two counts of conspiracy in the fourth degree, scheme to defraud in the first degree and conspiracy in the fifth degree.
Asked by a CBS News reporter if he believed any We Build the Wall operatives colluded against him before the indictment, Bannon replied, “I don’t know.”
Bannon added that prosecutors “haven’t shown me anything yet.”
Bannon has pleaded not guilty in the case and previously called the charges “nonsense.”
Bannon was indicted on federal charges in a similar case in August 2020 along with three other people associated with We Build the Wall. Bannon was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump in the federal case, in which two others, Brian Colfage and Andrew Badolato, pleaded guilty. Proceedings for another defendant, Timothy Shea, ended in a mistrial, and Shea will be retried, according to federal prosecutors.
An attorney for We Build the Wall, which also pleaded not guilty in the New York case, said during Tuesday’s hearing that the organization may not have enough funds to pay for its services.
Bannon’s indictment comes as criminal investigations hang over many in former President Donald Trump’s orbit.
Merchan also chairs the Trump Organization fraud and tax evasion case, which goes to trial in Manhattan Criminal Court on October 24. The company has pleaded not guilty to the case. A block south is a civil court, where another judge has for three years overseen the proceedings that led to a mass treatment filed Sept. 21 by the New York attorney general, which seeks $250 million and an end to Trump’s New York business. The Trumps and company deny the lawsuit’s allegations.
Two miles away, in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Thomas Barakbillionaire friend of Trump and chairman of the 2016 inauguration committee, is currently on trial on charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent in an attempt to influence US foreign policy in favor of the interests of the United Arab Emirates. Barak denies the charges and has pleaded not guilty.
The ornate stone lobby in that courthouse, the Raymond J. Dearie Atrium, is named for a semi-retired federal judge who was recently called upon to serves as a special master in a federal lawsuit filed by Trump. He sued the US Justice Department in August after it served a search warrant at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, seizing White House records, some of which were labeled “Top Secret.”
Bannon was found guilty in July for contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena to appear before a House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. He could face up to two years in prison when he is sentenced this month.
Federal investigators probing the Jan. 6 attack have subpoenaed more than 40 Trump allies and supporters, including several associated with the PAC Save America fundraiser. No charges have been filed in connection with this investigation.