Steve Bannon Guilty of Contempt of Congress

He defied a subpoena from the Jan. 6 House committee
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2022 1:59 PM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2022 2:27 PM CDT
Steve Bannon Guilty of Contempt of Congress
Steve Bannon speaks to the media as he departs the federal court in Washington, Thursday, July 21, 2022.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

A federal jury convicted longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon of contempt of Congress on Friday, reports the AP. The jury deliberated for just under three hours in finding Bannon guilty of defying a subpoena last fall from the Jan. 6 House panel. He was found guilty of two counts—refusing to appear for a deposition and refusing to hand over requested documents. Politico reports that he is likely to appeal.

  • Prison? It's possible the 68-year-old might end up in federal prison, though the Washington Post notes that nobody has been incarcerated for contempt of Congress in more than 50 years. Still, each of the offenses carries a minimum penalty of 30 days in prison, and Bannon faces up to two years in all. Sentencing is Oct. 21.
  • Quick trial: Bannon had promised to use his trial as a cudgel against the Biden administration and to go "medieval" on his political foes. But the judge in the case short-circuited that plan by rejecting many of his defense team's strategies. The trial lasted only four days. After the verdict was read, Bannon appeared to be chatting "lightheartedly" with his defense team, notes the Post.

  • Prosecution: “This case is not complicated, but it is important,” Assistant US Attorney Molly Gaston told jurors in her closing arguments Friday. “The defendant chose allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law.” Prosecutors say Bannon was closely involved in the planning for the Jan. 6 protest that resulted in the riot at the Capitol. He is the closest ally of Trump's to be found guilty of a related crime.
  • Defense: Among other things, Bannon's attorneys tried to make the case that Bannon didn't defy the committee because he believed the deadlines involved "were in flux" and still under negotiation, per the AP.
  • Timing: The New York Times notes that the conviction comes one day after the Jan. 6 House panel played video of Bannon saying that Trump planned to declare victory over Joe Biden in the 2020 election, no matter the results.
(More Steve Bannon stories.)

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