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Steve Bannon hires Rudy Giuliani's lawyer after his first attorney quit case after Bannon called for Dr. Fauci and FBI boss Chris Wray to be beheaded

 Steve Bannon, the former adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump, has hired a lawyer who also represents the president's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to defend him against criminal fraud charges.

Bannon's hiring of Robert Costello came five weeks after his prior lawyer, William Burck, withdrew following Bannon's Nov. 5 online suggestion that the government infectious disease specialist Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray be beheaded for being disloyal to Trump.

Costello, a former federal prosecutor whose clients have also included the late New York Yankees baseball team owner George Steinbrenner and late businesswoman Leona Helmsley, disclosed his hiring in a filing in Manhattan federal court.

He did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment. Burck has not disclosed why he withdrew.

Legal link: Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani are now represented by the same attorney
Legal link: Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani are now represented by the same attorney

Legal link: Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani are now represented by the same attorney

'Close relationship.'

'Close relationship.' 

Giuliani is helping lead Trump's effort to overturn his loss to President-elect Joe Biden in last month's election.

Bannon and three co-defendants were charged in August with defrauding donors in a crowdfunding campaign to build the president's signature wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Prosecutors said Bannon and Brian Kolfage, a leader of the campaign, illegally used hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover personal expenses.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty. A court conference is scheduled for Dec. 17.

Bannon was a top adviser to Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and later White House chief strategist, who championed the 'America First' right-wing populism and opposition to immigration that have been hallmarks of Trump's presidency.

Costello's name appeared several times in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, where he was described as having a 'close relationship' with Giuliani.

Since Trump's defeat and his decision to pardon former national security advisor Mike Flynn for lying to the FBI, Bannon's name has joined a list of those who there is speculation about the president also pardoning.

Among them are one-time Trump adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents and served 12 days in federal prison in 2018, and was at the heart of the FBI's decision to probe whether Trump or his campaign were colluding with Russia.

Papadopoulos told Abc7 Chicago : 'Hopefully, once the facts are all out there if they support what I believe is a logical conclusion of a pardon. I would be honored to accept one.'

Others whose names have been linked to possible pardons are former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates.

Gates pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. On December 17, 2019, he was sentenced to 45 days' jail and three years of probation. 

Elliott Broidy, a top GOP fund-raiser, who pleaded guilty last month in a foreign lobbying case, has also been speculated about.

Others seeking a pardon include Joseph Maldonado-Passage, the former Oklahoma zoo owner who is better known as Joe Exotic, who starred in the Netflix documentary ‘Tiger King.’

He is one year into a 22-year sentence for trying to hire a hit man to kill an animal-rights activist. His team has been trying to catch Trump’s attention through appearances on Fox News and a visit to the Trump International Hotel in Washington where they ran up a tab of about $10,000.

In April, Trump said he would ‘take a look at’ a pardon for the so-called Tiger King.

After he pardoned Flynn, Trump shared a tweet on Wednesday from Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, one of his closest allies on Capitol Hill, who said the president should also consider a pardon for himself.

'President Trump should pardon Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey, and everyone from himself, to his admin, to Joe Exotic if he has to,' Gaetz wrote.

Flynn's family on Wednesday issued a statement expressing their profuse gratitude to President Trump for pardoning him. 

There have been questions about whether Trump would pardon himself from any possible federal investigations into his business activities and taxes, which would not absolve him from any probes from New York state officials.

Legal scholars doubt the constitutionality of such a move and many think the Supreme Court would strike it down. 


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