'We Build The Wall' organizers join Bannon in pleading not guilty in fraud caseAugust 31, 2020
Virtual hearing held for Steve Bannon, 3 others on border wall fraud charges
Men charged with defrauding ‘We Build the Wall’ fund donors; Aishah Hasnie reports.
We Build The Wall organizers Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea pleaded not guilty on Monday after being indicted in connection with an online fundraising campaign that prosecutors claim defrauded donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
President Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon had already pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan earlier in August.
STEVE BANNON, 'WE BUILD THE WALL' ORGANIZERS ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING DONORS
Judge Analisa Torres said the trial would be set for May 24, 2021. She set Kolfage's bail at $500,000 but set bail for Badolato and Shea at $250,000 each.
All four of the indicted men attended Monday's court hearing virtually.
According to the indictment, Bannon and co-defendant Kolfage raised money for a "volunteer organization" and told the public that 100% of donations would go toward the federal government's building of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The campaign's website said all of the money raised would go to the government for building the wall and that if they did not meet their fundraising target they would "refund every single penny," according to the indictment.
"These representations were false," the indictment read.
Within a week of Kolfage launching the campaign in December 2018, they raised roughly $17 million, prosecutors said.
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Prosecutors claim that Kolfage, Bannon, Badolato and Shea took money for themselves as the campaign raised upward of $25 million. The indictment alleges that Bannon received more than $1 million through a nonprofit that he then used for personal expenses and to pay Kolfage.
Fox News' Marta Dhanis, Ronn Blitzer and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
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