By JAKE OFFENHARTZ
NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Bannon must pay nearly $500,000 in outstanding legal fees to his former attorneys, a New York judge ruled.
Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump and far-right strategist, was sued earlier this year for allegedly stiffing the Manhattan law firm that has defended him against a cascade of legal troubles in recent years.
In her six-page order released this week, Judge Arlene Bluth found that Bannon paid just $375,000 of more than $850,000 in legal fees he owed to Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron LLP.
He was ordered to pay the balance of $480,487, along with 1% interest and “reasonable legal fees.”
In a statement, Bannon’s current attorney, Harlan Protass, said his client plans to appeal the “clearly wrong” decision.
Jeffrey Citron, a managing partner at Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron, said it was unfortunate that Bannon forced the firm to take legal action despite receiving “excellent representation.”
“The firm intends to pursue every opportunity to collect our fees,” Citron added.
The New York firm represented Bannon in multiple legal matters, including the federal investigation into charges that he duped donors who contributed money to build a wall along the U.S. Southern Border.
Bannon was pardoned by former President Donald Trump in that case, but he currently faces state charges for his role in the scheme. He is expected to stand trial in that case next year.
He also received legal help from the firm in his effort to fight a subpoena by the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. He was sentenced to four months in prison for defying the subpoena, but he remains free while he awaits a decision on an appeal.
Bannon argued that he told the firm’s attorneys to stop working for him in early 2022, months before he stopped paying his bills. He also claimed that the firm did not properly alert him of the payments by failing to send the invoices to his various addresses.
The judge rejected both arguments, writing that Bannon “cannot receive the benefit of plaintiff’s legal representation and then insist he need not pay for it.”