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Bannon associate sentenced to more than 4 years for fraud over Trump border wall

2023-04-26T17:06:37Z

Decorated U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Kolfage, an ex-associate of Donald Trump’s former adviser Steve Bannon, was sentenced on Wednesday to more than four years in prison after admitting to conspiring to defraud donors to a campaign to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border promised by the former president.

Kolfage, 41, pleaded guilty last year to misappropriating funds meant for the “We Build the Wall” campaign. U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres announced the 51-month sentence at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan.

Andrew Badolato, 58, another former Bannon associate, also pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison at the same hearing.

“The fraud perpetrated by Mr. Kolfage and Mr. Badolato went well beyond ripping off individual donors,” Torres told the hearing. “They hurt us all by eroding the public’s faith in the political process.”

Kolfage, who lost his legs and right hand in a rocket attack in Iraq, and Badolato led the wall fundraising push alongside Bannon, Trump’s former campaign and White House strategist who was also charged but received a presidential pardon from Trump during the final hours of his term.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan had recommended that Kolfage spend 51 months in prison and Badolato 41 months.

Kolfage was accused of taking more than $350,000 and spent it on boat payments, jewelry and cosmetic surgery. He also pleaded guilty to tax charges.

Lawyers for Kolfage proposed that he be sentenced to home detention, citing his medical needs. Badolato’s lawyers said three years of probation would have been sufficient for their client because he was less culpable.

Another defendant, 52-year-old Timothy Shea, was convicted at trial in October. He is set to be sentenced in June.

In September, Bannon, 69, was indicted in New York state court in Manhattan on money laundering and conspiracy charges over the planned wall. He pleaded not guilty. Trump’s pardon of Bannon covered federal crimes but not alleged state crimes.

Related Galleries:

United States Air Force Senior Airman Brian Kolfage Jr., a triple amputee who lost both his legs and an arm while serving his second deployment in Iraq in 2004, attends the Veterans Day parade on 5th Avenue in New York, U.S., November 11, 2014. Picture taken November 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar

A new segment of the border wall is seen near the city of Alamo, Texas, U.S. January 12, 2021. REUTERS/Veronica G. Cardenas TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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