Steve Bannon: Steve Bannon denies tax evasion as he faces US court trial

BBC Sport’s Charlotte Hawkins describes Steve Bannon’s US court appearance Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon says he is proud of his role in the president’s shock election win and speaks positively about…

Steve Bannon: Steve Bannon denies tax evasion as he faces US court trial

BBC Sport’s Charlotte Hawkins describes Steve Bannon’s US court appearance

Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon says he is proud of his role in the president’s shock election win and speaks positively about his work for the US.

In a pre-trial hearing on Thursday, Bannon appeared in the West Virginia federal court and posted a $250,000 (£193,000) bond.

His defence lawyer said: “We are confident in Steve’s innocence and that the truth will come out at the appropriate time.”

Bannon is facing charges of tax evasion and illegal campaign contributions relating to the years 2008 to 2015, a period during which he was editor of the Breitbart News website.

The conspiracy theorist and former publicist for the alt-right website describes himself as “deeply pro-Israel, a patriot and a Reagan conservative”.

The former chief of Breitbart News has an unusual background.

Born and educated in Wall Street, he struggled to find work after leaving school at 15.

Bannon has a criminal record and spent time in prison for cocaine possession, although he received a pardon from then-President George H W Bush in 1990.

His first job after leaving college was as a supermarket bagger and he found his first paying source of income as a spokesman for real estate tycoon Charles Koppelman.

In the 1980s he advised several firms seeking out Silicon Valley investors.

For six years he worked as an advance man on the movie Fight Club, Martin Scorsese’s edgy 1993 film about a group of tech pioneers who plot to kill one another.

He later designed the logo for the world’s first hard liquor maker, Johnnie Walker, where he reportedly worked on the malt alcohol drink’s packaging as it was exported across Asia.

At the same time, Bannon launched both Men’s Vogue and Brides of the Damned magazines.

Bannon worked as the executive vice-president for public relations at Black Entertainment Television from 2001 to 2003, when he was forced out over criticism of the network’s decision to not broadcast the BET Awards – the most important African-American awards show.

The following year he struck out on his own and opened Breitbart, which would eventually rival the National Enquirer as the president’s chief source of false information.

The website was one of the few to refuse to endorse Trump’s candidacy in 2016, fuelling his rise and long running feud with CNN.

Before the election, Bannon stated that he “has no problem with” hate speech on the site.

In July he again stressed his affinity for Israel in a Breitbart article, writing: “Every direct line between Israel and America must be protected – from Jewish women who are thrown out of work, to Irish Catholics who are threatened by the British government, to poor Russians who had their passports pulled out of their hands.”

At Friday’s hearing Bannon was expected to enter a plea of not guilty and Judge John T Scott revoked his pre-trial release after taking in evidence of the defendant’s terror ties and his unregistered interest in firearms.

His trial is scheduled to begin on 28 July at the Boone County Courthouse in Beckley, West Virginia.

Leave a Comment