Bannon Cronies Plead Guilty In Border Wall Scam

Law & Crime reports:

Two of the men indicted with Steve Bannon years ago pleaded guilty on Thursday to allegations that the former White House chief strategist dodged through a pardon obtained from former President Donald Trump, his former boss. Iraq War veteran Brian Kolfage and Bannon’s friend Andrew Badolato, who received no clemency from Trump, admitted that they conspired to defraud donors who shelled out money to We Build the Wall.

After telling the judge that he took large sums of money from We Build the Wall donors after asserting that he wouldn’t take a “penny,” Kolfage said: “I knew that what I was doing was wrong and a crime.” Badolato, a longtime associate of Bannon represented by attorney Michael Paul Heffernan, also made a similar statement in court, adding that he was “terribly sorry” for what he did and asking the court for mercy.

The New York Times reports:

Building a wall along the country’s southwestern border to repel migrants became a rallying cry for Mr. Trump throughout his presidency, and the charges against Mr. Bannon and his co-defendants suggested they had exploited the issue’s popularity among Trump supporters to dupe donors to their project for private gain.

According to the indictment, the fund-raising campaign raised more than $25 million for the project.

The indictment accused Mr. Bannon of siphoning more than $1 million from the project through a nonprofit organization he controlled. The indictment said Mr. Kolfage took more than $350,000 in donated funds and used that money for home renovations, a luxury SUV, boat payments, a golf cart, cosmetic surgery and jewelry.