An indictment against Steve Bannon was dismissed Tuesday over the objection of prosecutors who said it should stand despite ex-President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon his former chief strategist.
The dismissal came in a written ruling by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres, who called it the “proper course.”
The Manhattan jurist said it was not the practice of the region’s federal courts to remove a defendant from a case’s docket without resolving the indictment. And she noted that the pardon does not by itself render a defendant innocent of the alleged crime nor eliminate probable cause of guilt.
“To the contrary, from the country’s earliest days, courts, including the Supreme Court, have acknowledged that even if there is no formal admission of guilt, the issuance of a pardon may ‘carr(y) an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it,'” she wrote, partially quoting a 1915 court ruling.
A spokesperson for prosecutors declined comment.
Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, said in an email: “We are delighted that the Judge reached the right conclusion. Winning always beats the alternative. An unconditional pardon is final and it merits the finality of a dismissed indictment.”
Bannon had pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he and three others defrauded donors in a $25 million fund to build a wall along the nation’s southern border. In July, lawyers for others charged in the case are to submit potential trial dates for later this year.