Prosecutors Ask Judge Not to Dismiss Bannon’s Indictment Despite Trump Pardon

February 26, 2021 Updated: February 26, 2021

Prosecutors this week asked a federal judge not to dismiss an indictment against former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon following Trump’s pardon of his ex-aide.

Bannon was facing charges related to allegations he and three others involved in a campaign to build barriers along the southern border kept some of the money they raised.

Bannon pleaded not guilty and said the charges amounted to a “political hit job.” Just before leaving office last month, Trump pardoned him.

Prosecutors said in a new motion that the government “has no objection to the Court entering an order exonerating Bannon’s bail.”

“However, the government respectfully submits that the pardon granted to Bannon is not a basis to dismiss the Indictment against him. A pardon is ‘an executive action that mitigates or sets aside punishment for a crime,'” they wrote.

Citing Nixon v. United States, they added: “The fact that Bannon was pardoned does not extinguish the fact that a grand jury found probable cause to believe that he committed the offenses set forth in the Indictment, nor does it undercut the evidence of his involvement therein which the Government expects to elicit as part of its presentation at trial,” their letter states. “Were the Court to dismiss the Indictment against Bannon, it could have a broader effect than the pardon itself, among other things potentially relieving Bannon of certain consequences not covered by the pardon.”

Prosecutors said Bannon asked the court to dismiss the indictment in a letter last week that has not been placed on the public docket. They asked the judge to have the letter placed on the docket so the public can read it.

“Bannon’s counsel submitted the letter to the Court by email—and therefore effectively under seal—because, in his view, ‘Bannon should no longer be a defendant in the case,'” they wrote. “However, until the defendant is administratively terminated, he remains a named defendant and more important, Bannon’s status in the case is not a basis to make his submission under seal.”

Bannon and an attorney representing him didn’t return requests for comment.

The case is being heard by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, an Obama appointee.

Trump pardoned Bannon in part because he “has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” the White House statement said last month.

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