A district judge in Manhattan dismissed the indictment against former Trump campaign strategist Steven Bannon on Tuesday according to The Washington Times.
This comes after Bannon was officially pardoned by former President Donald Trump, which technically didn’t dismiss the indictment, though the strategist turned broadcaster couldn’t be prosecuted.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, who called her action the “proper course” on Tuesday going on to explain that it wasn’t the federal court’s normal course to remove a defendant from their docket without resolution.
The jurist also said that the pardon itself does not indicate that the defendant is innocent or eliminate probable cause of guilt: “To the contrary, from the country’s earliest days, courts, including the Supreme Court, have acknowledged that even if there is no formal admission of guilt, the issuance of a pardon may ‘carr(y) an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it,’” she wrote, quoting a 1915 court ruling.
Bannon was arrested in August of 2020 and later freed on $5 million bail after charges alleged that he was part of a scheme that lead to himself and three others defrauding the donors to the $25 million fund to build a wall along the nation’s southern border.
After Trump’s pardon in January of this year, prosecutors reportedly asked the judge presiding over the case to let the indictment against Bannon stand, pointing to the negative effects of having the indictment pending, even without hope of conviction.
“As an example of lingering consequences of an outlying indictment, the government noted that a commodity broker’s application was denied and an instance in which a pardon did not preclude the government from considering the charged conduct in evaluating permit applications.”
While many believed that Bannon and his cohorts were targeted due to their affiliation with Trump as part of the left’s last-ditch effort to push bad press toward then-president and candidate, others consider it likely that the group really did steal million from hardworking Americans.
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined to respond with a comment and lawyers for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.