Bannon prosecutors admit failure in tracking attorneys’ emails

Federal prosecutors for former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon have admitted receiving email and phone recordings from private individuals who share the name of Bannon’s attorney, but insist it has no bearing on the case.

in one 10-page court filing Monday nightthe DC US Attorney’s Office acknowledged that the government attempted to obtain logs of Robert Costello’s communications only to collect similar records from others by that name.

Prosecutors described their efforts as “reasonable investigative steps, relying in part on information from law enforcement databases,” to determine if Costello was related to Bannon about a subpoena of the House of Representatives Inquiry into the January 6, 2021 riots at the US Capitol.

“As is usual in investigations, some of these steps did not provide relevant information and the government’s understanding evolved as its investigations progressed,” the filing reads. “Twists and turns like this are common in any investigation.”

Pictured Bannon's attorney Robert Costello
The DC US Attorney’s Office acknowledged that the government attempted to obtain logs of communications from attorney Robert Costello (above) only to collect similar records from others by that name.

Last week, Bannon and his legal team submitted a 26-page application to compel disclosure of government efforts to obtain Costello’s records.

They claimed the prosecution was “beyond reckless” and that the records obtained were “all for another completely uninvolved citizen who appeared to be named Robert Costello or Robert M. Costello.” In fact, none of the e-mail accounts that the government sought access to in this case to receive the defense attorney’s e-mails were actually the defense attorney’s e-mail account.”

In the filing filed Monday, prosecutors insisted they “had reason to believe” the email addresses and phone numbers belonged to Costello.

Bannon Trump
Bannon used to be a strategist for President Donald Trump.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

“The three email addresses that the defendant complains about in his response are addresses that law enforcement databases have linked to Mr. Costello and one of his known addresses in Manhasset, New York.”

They explained that the mistake was not recognizing various middle names listed in billing information received via one of the emails.

“Based on the information gathered, the government believed that law enforcement database information and subscriber information indicated that the Google account belonged to Mr. Costello and was actively used during the relevant period,” Monday’s filing said. “The Government acknowledges that in reaching this conclusion it failed to recognize the conflicting middle name in the billing information.”

Uprising on January 6th
Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury in December after defying a subpoena from the House of Representatives investigating the Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol.
REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

Prosecutors also charged Bannon’s legal team with leaking information about the misguided individuals Effort for the Daily Beastwhich published an article on the matter last week before the application was filed.

“[I]It appears that a reporter was granted access to identifying information about bystanders before the defendant’s response was submitted,” they said. “In the circumstances, the Government believes that an investigation into the defendant’s possible contacts with the reporter in the article described above would be appropriate.”

Bannon is scheduled to stand trial in July on two counts of contempt for Congress for ignoring two subpoenas from the committee. He was charged in November and quickly pleaded not guilty.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday Politically. Bannon prosecutors admit failure in tracking attorneys’ emails


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