Federal judge sentences Steve Bannon to four months in prison


Stephen Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison Friday for his defiance of a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Federal District Judge Carl Nichols ruled that Bannon would also pay a fine of $6,500 alongside his four-month sentence, allowing Bannon to serve jail time for each contempt of Congress charge concurrently. 

At the outset of the hearing, Nichols said Bannon had shown “no remorse for his actions” and “has yet to demonstrate he has any intention of complying with the subpoena.”

The onetime Trump White House strategist was subpoenaed by the panel in September of last year after he failed to provide either the required documents or testimony as he railed against the committee.

At the outset of the hearing, Nichols said Bannon had shown “no remorse for his actions” and “has yet to demonstrate he has any intention of complying with the subpoena.”

But the judge also agreed to stay his ruling while Bannon appeals his guilty verdict, likely delaying for some time his eventual prison service.

“The Jan 6 committee thus has every reason to investigate what happened that day including who may have been involved in planning or instigating what happened,” Nichols said after listing off the actions of the numerous rioters that stormed the building.

He added that for much of the information the committee sought from Bannon were instances where “no conceivable claim” of executive privilege could be made.

A Justice Department prosecutor argued that Bannon deserved a severe penalty for his wholesale resistance to the committee’s subpoena, noting that “he never lifted a finger to find a responsive document” or appear in person to assert any potential privileges.

“The importance of this case has everything to do with defendant’s obligations as a citizen of the United States,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Cooney told the court.

“No one, regardless of their means, their station, the influence of their friends or their patrons, is above the law.”

Bannon’s attorneys — David Schoen, one of former President Trump’s impeachment attorneys, and Evan Corcoran, who is currently representing the former president in the Mar-a-Lago case — argued Bannon had little choice but inaction when faced with the committee subpoena.

His hands were tied by Trump’s claim of executive privilege, they argued, with Schoen saying it was the “only lawful course he could take consistent with the Constitution and his obligation.”

A jury largely rejected that argument when it found Bannon guilty on both counts of contempt of Congress.

The Justice Department had recommended six months jail time and a $200,000 fine — the maximum financial penalty for the two counts of contempt of Congress.

“For his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress, the defendant should be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment—the top end of the Sentencing Guidelines’ range—and fined $200,000—based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation,” the agency wrote in a Monday court filing. 

Bannon is the first former adviser to Trump to face penalties for rebuffing a subpoena from the committee.

The full House has voted to censure three others for contempt of Congress relating to the investigation, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications guru Dan Scavino. But the Justice Department has only otherwise pursued charges against White House adviser Peter Navarro.

The subpoena to Bannon noted his presence in the Trump campaign’s “war room” at the Willard Hotel, including involvement in a discussion with Republican lawmakers about objecting to election results.

They also sought to ask him about a comment on a Jan. 5, 2021, episode of his podcast where he said “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Before the sentencing, Bannon was seen pacing the courtroom, wearing his usual green jacket to the hearing.

But after the ruling, Bannon pushed a more confident tone, with Schoen at his side suggesting a successful appeal in their future.

Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Bannon repeated familiar refrains, praising the judge but saying that Judgment Day for the Biden administration was coming and mocking the members of the Jan. 6 panel.

“This thing about I’m above the law is an absolute and total lie,” Bannon said as demonstrators interrupted him with shouts of “area podcaster goes to prison.”

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post