Preet Bharara: Hard to Imagine a Defense Steve Bannon Could Mount
Preet Bharara knows a thing or two about cases tried in the Southern District of New York. Prior to his firing by Donald Trump, Bharara spent nearly 8 years as the United States Attorney for the organization. He was celebrated for taking on corruption within Wall St. firms.
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was recently arrested on charges of mail fraud. Bannon has been defiant, saying that the arrest was a political hit job. During a recent interview on CNN, however, Bharara said he doesn’t see how Bannon will defend himself against the charges.
Bharara began by saying, “Sometimes you have cases somewhat triable. There are reasonable defenses. Always some defense someone can offer.”
But the former US Attorney wasn’t sure how Bannon was going to defend himself in this case. He continued, “the prosecutors seem to have documentary evidence of lots and lots of money going right into the pockets of the defendants, in particular a $100,000 payment to the main defendant, Brian Kolfage, and $20,000 a month after that. It’s hard to imagine what an effective defense would be in this case.”
The host, Bianna Golodryga, asked, “So was it that ostentatious and luxurious lifestyle that raised flags for the prosecutors?”
Bharara replied, ” It may have been some donor raised a red flag and thought the money wasn’t going to the right place. They may have had someone on the inside. It’s hard to know. Certainly part of what probably raised red flags is the kind of lifestyle that one or more of these people led after they are saying they’re not using any of this money for anything other than the purpose for which they advertised it.”