Former White House strategist Stephen Bannon was released the same day of his arrest after pleading not guilty to electronic fraud and money laundering charges for which he was arrested on Aug. 20.
Federal prosecutors in New York accused Bannon and three others of an alleged $25 million fraud—donations to build a wall along the border with Mexico, according to Law & Crime.
In addition to Bannon, Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato, and Timothy Shea were arrested on the same charges.
Prosecutors said that donors were assured that all of the money collected would be used to build the wall, but that was not the case.
“Some of these donors wrote directly to Kolfage that they did not have much money and were skeptical of online fundraising campaigns, but that they gave what they could because they trusted Kolfage to keep his word on how their donations would be spent,” the prosecutors wrote, according to CBS News.
Bannon’s hearing was presided over by U.S. District Judge Stewart D. Aaron, with Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Roos representing the Southern District of New York (SDNY). On the defense, attorney Bill Burck and another from the powerful law firm Quinn Emanuel.
Bannon is restricted from certain unauthorized travel, contact with his co-defendants, and handling of funds linked to the controversial campaign that led to his arrest while he is out on bail.
Bannon, 66, is considered the architect of the 2016 election campaign by then-candidate Donald Trump. He was then hired at the White House as chief strategist until August 2017.
Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, founder of the New Federation of China organization, said about Bannon he “has been a strong ally in the fight for freedom and democracy in China,” however, his performance as a member of Guo Media GTV was suspended.
Guo Media hired Bannon for consulting services in August 2018.
Wengui reiterated Bannon’s presumption of innocence and his right to a fair trial, as enshrined in U.S. law, unlike the CCP.