staunch Trump ally Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison on Friday for contempt of Congress after he repeatedly shrugged off subpoenas to testify and provide documents to the House committee investigating the Capitol riot.
However, DC Federal Court Judge Carl J. Nichols agreed to stay the verdict while Bannon appeals — as long as an appeal is “timely.”
Prosecutors had asked Nichols to jail Bannon for six months for his “continued, malicious contempt for Congress” that “intensified” the attack on the Capitol.
“The defendant has expressed no remorse for his conduct and has attacked others at every turn,” the FBI wrote in a ruling earlier this week.
Bannon’s attorneys, who claimed executive privilege, prevented him from complying with the subpoena and asked Nichols to only sentence Bannon to probation and allow him to remain free pending an appeal on bail. In a wide-ranging argument on Friday, David Schoen, who also represented Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, argued that the Jan. 6 committee was overly political, that Bannon’s desire to respect executive branch privileges was “the kind of behavior that we should be promoting in this country” and that eager prosecutors were trying to “mr. to make Bannon their trophy”.
However, Nichols said the Jan. 6 committee had “every right to investigate what happened that day,” and called the riot “undeniably serious.”
He tore Bannon’s argument for executive privilege to shreds, noting that Trump had waived the privilege earlier this year — but Bannon still couldn’t hand over a “single document.” In addition, some of the information requested in the subpoenas had “no conceivable right to executive privilege,” he said.
However, he acknowledged that rather than completely ignoring the subpoena, Bannon appeared to be following legal advice. And he questioned why the committee didn’t sue him to enforce his subpoena instead of seeking a criminal charge of contempt.
He sentenced Bannon to four months each on two counts of contempt, to be served simultaneously, and a $6,500 fine. If Bannon doesn’t appeal, he has until November 15 to surrender to prison.
After the court sentencing, Bannon’s attorney called her appeal “bulletproof.”
The former White House chief strategist and former Goldman Sachs investment banker, who has turned to podcasting while fighting litigation on numerous fronts, had promised his DC trial would be a fiery affair that would embarrass the government. In the end, his attorneys called no witnesses, launched a grab bag of unsuccessful defenses, and the trial ended with Bannon being convicted by a jury in less than three hours.
Bannon said Friday he respects the judge and the verdict, calling it “an absolute and total lie” to say he feels above the law. He claimed that he participated “more than any other person in the Trump administration” in various congressional investigations related to Russian election interference.
“It’s the same process every time,” he says. “I had lawyers who were engaged, they worked through the privileges, and at that time I went and testified.”
He was drowned out by people in the crowd shouting “traitor” and “fascist.”
A Bannon speaker i.eI will not immediately return The Daily Beast’s request for comment Friday morning.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/steve-bannon-sentenced-to-prison-for-contempt-of-congress-after-defying-jan-6-committee-subpoena?source=articles&via=rss Steve Bannon sentenced to 4 prison terms for contempt of Congress after defying the Jan. 6 committee subpoena