A New York judge on Friday awarded ex-White House adviser Steve Bannon’s former legal team more than $480,000 after the one-time Trump administration official stiffed them on payment.
In her ruling, New York Supreme Court Judge Arlene Bluth awarded the firm Davidff Hutcher & Citron a summary judgment of $480,487.87 – the legal retainer that Bannon refused to pay – as well as legal fees associated with the lawsuit brought against the political strategist.
Davidoff Hutcher & Citron filed its claim against Bannon in February, claiming it was not paid for legal services from November 2020 through November 2022.
The firm’s partner, Robert Costello, regularly represented Bannon over that period and the firm helped secure a presidential pardon for the 69-year-old in 2020.
The law firm represented Bannon through a series of legal problems, including an indictment that accused him of scamming $1 million from donors to the “We Build the Wall” GoFundMe campaign.
Bannon made payments totaling $375,000 out of the more than $850,000 billed by Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, LLC, according to the firm.
Bannon contended that he told his lawyers to stop working on his behalf in January 2022 and that Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, LLC performed work on matters unrelated to the subject matter of the retainer agreement.
He also argued that Costello would be a witness in a case against him and therefore he shouldn’t have to pay.
“Defendant’s assertion that he need not pay legal fees because an attorney for plaintiff might be a witness in the case in the District of Columbia is also without merit,” Bluth wrote in her ruling.
“As plaintiff pointed out, Mr. Costello filed a notice of withdrawal in that case in July 2022, well after the time defendant allegedly told plaintiff to stop representing him. Nor did defendant adequately explain how the fact that an attorney might be called as a witness is a valid defense to not paying legal bills,” she added.
Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $6,500 fine last October for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating last year’s Capitol riot.
His prison sentence has been delayed as he appeals the verdict.