New York prosecutor seeking information in probe of Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon was pardoned by Donald Trump on his last day as president. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Manhattan prosecutors have started gathering information in an investigation of Steve Bannon, the former presidential aide who was pardoned by Donald Trump on his last day as president, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Bannon was charged in federal court last year with defrauding contributors to "We Build the Wall," a private-sector effort to support Trump's 2016 campaign promise to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border.

Following Bannon's pardon last month, prosecutors in the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr issued subpoenas for records related to Bannon's fundraising efforts to Wells Fargo and "Go Fund Me," an Internet fund-raising platform that was used by proponents of the private-sector campaign, according to CNN, which first reported the investigation.

Robert Costello, Bannon's lawyer, didn't respond to a request for comment. Wells Fargo declined to comment.

The subpoenas - and the interest in Bannon - mark at least the third time that Vance's office has pursued an investigation that related to similar efforts at the federal level.

After former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort was convicted by prosecutors from the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and then sentenced, Vance filed state charges against him.

Those charges were dismissed as courts ruled that they subjected Manafort to double jeopardy in violation of state law. Trump pardoned Manafort for the federal crimes in December.

Vance's office is currently investigating Trump and the Trump Organisation based in part on evidence that emerged from a federal case against Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer, for campaign finance violations.

That investigation received a boost on Monday when the US Supreme Court declined Trump's request to prevent Vance from getting hold of eight years of Trump's tax returns.

Unlike Manafort and Bannon, Cohen didn't get a pardon from Trump. He has confirmed that he is cooperating with Vance's investigation.

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