A New York judge has given Steve Bannon until the end of February to find new lawyers to advise him in a criminal fraud case after the former Donald Trump aide’s attorney said there were “irreconcilable differences” and communications have broken down.
Bannon attorney David Schoen said in court Thursday that he no longer communicates directly with Bannon and that all conversations about the case go through a third party. He said they differ about how to approach the case and defense theories, among other matters. Schoen and another attorney pleaded repeatedly to be removed immediately from the case.
Judge Juan Merchan said Schoen and another attorney could withdraw but they would not be dismissed from the case until Bannon obtains new counsel because of the seriousness of the charges.
“I’m doing this for the benefit of Mr. Bannon even though it may not feel that way,” the judge said.
Bannon was charged last year with defrauding donors to a fundraising effort called “We Build the Wall” to construct a wall along the southern US border. He has pleaded not guilty.
The judge said he understood that Bannon is close to obtaining a new lawyer and would give him until February 28 to find one. He added that this would delay the case, which is set for trial later this year.
Schoen said Bannon has reached out to “at least seven law firms” and one individual may get involved in the case.