Steve Bannon had harsh words Thursday for one of former President Donald Trump’s rivals for the Republican presidential nomination.
As Bannon was leaving court following the latest hearing in his New York State felony money laundering case, CBS News asked him about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign announcement, a glitch-filled audio event on social media site Twitter.
“I thought it was a complete disaster. Elon Musk is a complete disaster. He’s owned by the Chinese Communist Party,” Bannon said, referring to the CEO of Twitter, who hosted DeSantis’ announcement.
Bannon, who was Trump’s chief White House strategist and 2016 campaign CEO, was charged in September 2022 for his role in a group that raised millions promising to privately build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Prosecutors for Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office allege they pocketed some of the money instead. Bannon has entered a not guilty plea in the case.
Bannon’s trial is scheduled for May 27, 2024, New York Judge Juan Merchan said Thursday.
The trial was originally scheduled for November 2023, but the case was delayed when Bannon had to switch lawyers. His original attorneys told Merchan in January that they and Bannon had “irreconcilable” differences.
Merchan, who is also presiding over Trump’s felony falsification of business records case, said he accepted the delayed trial start because both sides in Bannon’s case said they were satisfied with the date. Trump’s case is scheduled to go to trial on March 25, 2024. He has pleaded not guilty.
Bannon faced similar federal charges in 2020 but was pardoned by Trump during the final hours of his presidency. Presidential pardons do not apply to state charges.
In a separate federal case, Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison in October 2022 after a jury convicted him on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He must also pay $6,500 in financial penalties.
Bannon was found guilty in that case in July, and he remains free while his legal team appeals the conviction.