Judge Andrew Napolitano painted a grim picture for Steve Bannon’s future Thursday morning on Fox News.
Shortly after President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager was arrested for allegedly defrauding donors to his “We Build the Wall” crowdfunding campaign, Fox’s senior judicial analyst broke down the stakes in the case.
Napolitano explained that the indictment exposes the bank accounts of Bannon and his partners “into which the funds” that were intended to go to their hypothetical wall project were put. “Rather than put the money directly into their pockets,” he said, “they funneled it to third-party charities and those charities paid the money, according to the indictment, to Steve Bannon and the others.”
“They’re facing 20 years each for the money that they paid themselves in defiance of their promises not to do so,” the analyst added, noting that the charges include both wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Fox host Trace Gallagher, in turn, pointed out that Bannon is accused of stealing $1 million from donors and using several hundred thousand dollars to fund his “lavish lifestyle.”
As for the likelihood of a conviction, Napolitano predicted that Bannon, who through his lawyer pleaded not guilty in his first court appearance on Thursday, won’t be able to mount much of a defense. “The problem that he confronts is the publicity that they issued and the means they used,” he said. “They had hundreds of thousands of donors who donated this money believing that all of it would go to building the wall and ‘not a penny’ would go to those who are organizing it.”
The fact that they used a third-party in an effort to “cover their trail because they knew they had misled donors,” he added, “doesn’t look good for him right now.”