As part of a last-minute clemency binge before taking office, President Donald Trump pardoned his former Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon.
Just hours before President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural ceremony was scheduled to begin, the White House announced that Trump was pardoning Bannon and 72 others early Wednesday.
Trump commuted the sentences of 70 offenders as well. Bannon was indicted in the summer and is accused of defrauding citizens who contributed to a program on the U.S. border with Mexico to create a wall privately. He pled not guilty and, on parole, was released. For May, a trial was scheduled.
“Prosecutors pursued Mr Bannon with charges related to fraud stemming from his involvement in a political project. “Mr Bannon has been an important leader in the conservative movement and is known for his political acumen,” the statement issued on behalf of Trump said.
In 2016, Bannon joined Trump’s staff and took care of the operation. The 67-year-old is credited with playing a vital part in the unexpected rise of Trump at the time. Bannon became Trump’s chief strategist after winning the presidency, but he only served for seven months.
He has also forgiven a slew of long-time friends and allies in recent weeks, including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his long-time friend, Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law. Others include Roger Stone, an advisor, and Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser.