Steve Bannon sentenced for contempt of Congress

Accused on former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, revenge himself
FILE: Steve Bannon, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, speaks to members of the media after his arrangement at the NYS Supreme Court on Sept. 08, 2022 in New York City.

David De Delgado / Getty Images

Washington — Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump’s chief White House strategist and campaign CEO, faced sentencing on Friday after a jury indicted him on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. Were for defying a summons from the House Select Committee to investigate January 6, 2021. Attack on the US Capitol.

Bannon was found guilty in July and filed a notice saying he wanted to appeal his conviction.

Prosecutors asked Judge Carl Nichols, at the high end of sentencing guidelines for the case, to send Bannon to prison for six months, and fined him $200,000 for what he argued was “their continuing, bad omission of Congress.” – Contempt of trust.” Bannon’s team asked for a probationary sentence and a delay in any possible jail time pending his appeal.

Bannon, a private citizen at the time of the committee’s formation on January 6 last year, was charged after he rejected the panel’s demand that he sit for a statement with investigators and hand over documents related to the Congressional investigation.

The committee originally asked Bannon for information on 17 key areas, ranging from his communications with Trump to the coordination between right-wing extremist groups in carrying out the Capitol attack.

Bannon pleaded not guilty, and this was followed by a fierce legal battle between defense and prosecutors over which evidence was admissible at trial, attempts to adjourn Bannon’s proceedings, and a televised hearing on January 6 by the House Select Committee. Evidence of, to which Bannon was referred several times.

During the July trial, prosecutors told the jury that Bannon thought he was “above the law” and “patted his nose” at Congressional demands, while Bannon himself did not testify and his legal team produced no witnesses. called.

Trump’s aide maintained at the time of his denial that he could not testify because of executive privilege concerns raised by the former president, adding that his lawyer, Robert Costello, had advised him not to comply with the subpoena because of those concerns. . Nichols ruled that because of binding precedent from the High Court, Bannon’s legal team could not present a defense known as “advocate of counsel” to the jury. That decision is the subject of Bannon’s appeal.

Amazingly, days before the trial began, Bannon told the January 6 committee that he would be ready to testify — publicly — after Costello said Trump had reversed course on those executive privilege claims.

In his pre-sentence memo, prosecutors alleged that Bannon used an apparent change of heart in an attempt to pressure prosecutors to drop the case altogether on the eve of the trial, getting congressional investigators on him. who wanted his testimony to convince justice. The department should cooperate in dismissing the allegations.

Prosecutors wrote earlier this week, “The defendant attempted to take advantage of unlawfully withheld information from the committee to quash his criminal prosecution.”

“The factual record in this case is evidence that in connection with the summons to the Committee, the Respondent consistently acted in bad faith and with the object of disparaging the work of the Committee.”

But Bannon’s lawyers argued that his client had been convicted of following his lawyer’s advice and was politically targeted for his actions.

“The facts of the case show that Mr. Bannon’s conduct was based on the advice of his lawyer in his good faith,” his legal team wrote earlier this week, “by virtue of clear authority, Mr. Costello has to Mr. Bannon. had provided legal advice. Mr. Costello provided the selection committee with legal justification for Mr. Bannon’s position and received feedback from the selection committee’s lawyers. Mr. Costello advised Mr. Bannon, and Mr. Bannon acted on that advice .

The term of imprisonment, he argued, was unconstitutional because Bannon thought he was acting legally.

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