Source: CNN

A New York state judge has set a trial date for Steve Bannon’s fundraising fraud case for May of next year.

In a brief court hearing Thursday, the judge said Bannon’s trial would begin May 27, 2024 – roughly two months after former President Donald Trump will be on trial before the same judge, Juan Merchan, in a separate case related to falsifying business records tied to hush money payments.

Bannon has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering and scheme to defraud. He was first indicted on federal charges in 2020 but pardoned by Trump in his final days in office. The Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York attorney general’s office announced state charges against Bannon last summer.

Prosecutors allege Bannon and others defrauded donors in a fundraising effort called “We Build The Wall.”

Bannon and an associate, Brian Kolfage, promised donors that the campaign, which ultimately raised more than $25 million, was “a volunteer organization” and that “100% of the funds raised … will be used in the execution of our mission and purpose,” according to an indictment.

But instead, according to prosecutors, Bannon, through a nonprofit under his control, diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage and others.

Kolfage and another Bannon associate, Andrew Badolato, were indicted on federal charges alongside Bannon and each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in April 2022. Kolfage also pleaded guilty to two counts of filing a false tax return and one count of wire fraud in connection with filing a false tax return.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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