Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist under former President Donald Trump, holds up a newspaper outside U.S. District Court on the day of his sentencing for contempt of Congress charges after rejecting a subpoena from the committee on January 6 in Washington, U.S. on October 21. 2022.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
Former top adviser to Trump in the White House, Steve Bannon, is to be sentenced on Friday for defying a subpoena from the congressional investigation into the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
The procedure set for 9 a.m. ET in U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, could make Bannon one of the highest-profile figures to be locked up on charges related to the insurgency. He is expected to appeal his sentence.
Federal prosecutors want the court to sentence Bannon to six months in prison — the upper end of federal sentencing guidelines — and the maximum fine of $200,000.
A right-wing media figure and once close ally of former President Donald Trump, Bannon “consistently acted in bad faith” when he tried to obstruct the House Select Committee’s investigation, prosecutors alleged.
Bannon has asked federal judge Carl Nichols for a suspended sentence. His lawyers also argued that the court should stay any sentence imposed until an appeals court could hear the case.
Bannon’s sentence came a year after the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a select committee subpoena for documents and testimony. Bannon was indicted on two felony counts in November and sentenced at a federal trial in July.
Bannon’s lawyer had argued that the subpoena would violate Trump’s executive privilege, the president’s power to withhold certain information from the public.
But Bannon reversed course days before his trial, saying he was willing to testify because Trump had agreed to waive his claim of executive privilege.
Prosecutors called it a stunt. In a court filing Monday, they wrote that after Bannon’s gambit failed to delay the trial, “he never made any further attempt to comply with the subpoena — and continues to this day.”
Lawyers for Bannon argued in part that Bannon should receive a light sentence because he was simply following his lawyer’s advice in defying the select committee’s subpoena.
“The facts of this case demonstrate that Mr. Bannon’s conduct was based on his faithful reliance on the advice of his counsel,” the defendant’s attorneys wrote in a court filing this week.
But Justice Department prosecutors said Bannon “pursued a malicious strategy with defiance and contempt” from “the moment” he was served with the subpoena.
“A person could not have shown greater contempt than the defendant did in his defiance of the committee’s subpoena,” they told the court.
“The rioters who overpowered the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building – they attacked the rule of law upon which this country was built and of which it is made,” their memo said.
This is developing news. Please check back for updates.