Bannon lawyer quits fraud case after ex-Trump advisor suggests beheading Fauci and Wray

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President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon speaks with reporters after pleading not guilty to charges that he ripped off donors to an online fundraising scheme to build a southern border wall, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

NEW YORK (AP) – A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has quit defending him in a federal fraud case after Bannon’s inflammatory comments about Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In a letter dated Friday, defense attorney William Burck told a federal court judge in New York City that he was withdrawing from the case. He did not give a reason why. Reached by email, Burck declined to discuss the decision.

The lawyer quit after Bannon suggested on an online broadcast that Fauci and Wray should be beheaded for being disloyal to the president. The remarks prompted Twitter to permanently suspend Bannon’s account.

“I’d put the heads on pikes” as a warning to federal bureaucrats, Bannon said on video. “You either get with the program or you are gone.”

As of Thursday evening, Bannon’s account was still active on Facebook, where the video calling for Fauci and Wray to be executed had been viewed nearly 200,000 times in ten hours.

Late Thursday, Facebook said it had removed videos of Bannon’s remarks for violating its policy on violence and incitement.

Bannon, 66, is facing charges he ripped off Trump supporters as an organizer of a group called “We Build The Wall” that portrayed itself as eager to help the president build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has pleaded not guilty.

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