Judge Removed from Bannon’s Trump Case

(UnitedHeadlines.com) – A new judge has been assigned to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s New York criminal fraud trial.

Judge Juan Merchan, who presided over former President Donald Trump’s hush money trial in New York, has been removed from the case due to “conflicting schedules.”

Since Bannon’s September 2022 arraignment, Merchan has presided over the case, with a trial set for May. However, Merchan had Trump’s trial ongoing at the time. Bannon is facing charges on the state level with conspiracy, money laundering, and fraud related to a fundraising campaign for “We Build the Wall,” in which he allegedly lied to donors. These are the same charges federal prosecutors charged Bannon, Andrew Badolato, Brian Kolfage, and Timothy Shea with in August 2020. While Trump pardoned Bannon, federal pardons do not apply to state investigations. He has pleaded not guilty, and the trial will begin on Sept. 23.

In a statement, Judge Ellen Biben said that beginning Sept. 16, Merchan will oversee a six-defendant trial that could last more than three months. This could cause a conflict with Bannon’s case.

The new judge, April Newbauer, will “schedule a status conference” with all parties involved in the case, according to Biben. Biben noted the change of judge will “best serve the needs of the court.” Bannon will appear before Newbauer in court on July 23. Newbauer was previously criticized for her decision to allow a $5,000 bail for a man charged with attempted burglary and assaulting a woman. He was subsequently charged with killing the woman, her friend, and her dog a few months after his release.

The news of Merchan’s removal from the case comes as Bannon is expected to report to prison in Connecticut on July 1 for four months after his conviction in 2022 for contempt of Congress related to his “refusal to assist the January 6th House committee.” Bannon has appealed his sentencing to the Supreme Court.

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