Bannon criminal probe in N.Y. heats up

The New York attorney general’s office has partnered with Manhattan’s district attorney to investigate Stephen Bannon for the alleged fundraising scam that prompted his federal pardon in the waning hours of Donald Trump’s presidency, according to people familiar with the matter. The move adds prosecutorial firepower to a criminal case widely seen as an attempted end-run around the former president’s bid to protect a political ally.

Investigators employed by the state attorney general were deputized to work as prosecutors with the team led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., D, whose investigation of Bannon began shortly after his pardon was announced in January, these people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing…

Such collaboration between the attorney general and the district attorney is rare. The two law enforcement officials are overseeing separate inquiries into Trump and his business dealings, investigations focused on whether the values of certain assets were manipulated to gain tax benefits and favorable loan rates in violation of the state law, but it is not believed the two agencies are coordinating. While Vance is considering whether to bring criminal charges against Trump and his business associates, James is pursuing a civil investigation.