Steve Bannon’s former coworker was retried on Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court on charges that he stole millions of dollars from Trump supporters who gave money to the “We Build the Wall” campaign.
In June, Timothy Shea’s first trial was thrown out because a jury said the case against the Colorado businessman was part of a “witch hunt” by the government.
Shea is one of four people the federal government will go after in 2020 in the “We Build the Wall” fraud case. He owns a company that says it sells “liberal tears” energy drinks.
Two more people pleaded guilty in April to taking money from people who supported Trump’s main immigration policy, which was to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Wikstrom told the jury that Shea, Bannon, and two others who pleaded guilty in April, Brian Kolfage and Andrew Badolato, conspired to take hundreds of thousands of dollars in modest payments.
“This is a case about lies. About lies used to raise money. About lies used to steal money and about lies to cover it up,” said Wikstrom during the government’s opening argument. “Whether you are for or against a border wall, no one should be a victim of fraud.”
During his last hours in office, Trump pardoned Bannon for his federal convictions. In September, the Manhattan district attorney brought additional charges against the Trump strategist, whose presidential pardon did not include state prosecution. He entered a not-guilty plea.
In his reworked opening statement, John Meringolo, Shea’s attorney, seemed to draw inspiration from the jury who temporarily exonerated his client. He requested that panelists investigate where and when the claimed occurrences occurred.
“They didn’t give you the whole picture,” said Meringolo. “Is there a venue in this case?”