Speed Reads

Single jeopardy

Stephen Bannon, pardoned by Trump, may now be charged over the same scheme in New York

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance has reviewed all 143 of the pardons and commutations issued by former President Donald Trump in his final hours in office, and it's weighing whether to bring charges against former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon and Ken Kurson, a friend of Jared Kushner, Trump's son in law, The New York Times and The Washington Post report. Presidential clemency covers only federal crimes, and both men were pardoned before their cases went to trial, meaning they almost certainly wouldn't be protected by New York State's double-jeopardy law.

Bannon and three associates not pardoned by Trump were charged in August with defrauding investors in an enterprise called Build the Wall; Bannon was accused of personally receiving more than $1 million of the $25 million raised to build border wall on private land. All four men pleaded not guilty. Vance's prosecutors "have taken significant steps in their investigation" of Bannon, the Times reports, "including seeking records and requesting to interview at least one potential witness." Vance would have jurisdiction because some of Bannon's alleged victims live in Manhattan.

Kurson, a former editor of The New York Observer who is also close with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, was arrested in October on charges of cyberstalking and harassment tied to the 2015 dissolution of his marriage, the Times reports. "He was accused of having stalked a Manhattan doctor, her colleague, and the colleague's spouse."

Vance's office has been investigating Trump and his family business on tax fraud and other charges since 2019, and it is currently awaiting a second Supreme Court ruling on whether it can obtain eight years of Trump's tax returns. Vance also charged another Trump campaign official, Paul Manafort, with mortgage fraud and more than a dozen other state felonies in 2019, before Trump pardoned him, but the case was dismissed on double-jeopardy grounds. Vance has appealed that ruling to a higher state court, arguing that the lower court misread the law, the Post reports.