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After Ignoring the Committee’s Subpoena on January 6, Steve Bannon Was Found to Be in Contempt of Court

Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress by a federal jury for refusing to appear before the House Select Committee looking into the attack on January 6.

The conviction is a success for the House select committee’s historic probe, which it is still working to recruit reluctant witnesses for. It is also a win for the Justice Department, which has been under a lot of criticism for the way it has handled the attack-related issues.

The jury reached a unanimous decision on the two contempt charges in less than three hours after nearly two days of hearing testimony from witnesses and the evidence.

On October 21, Bannon will receive his sentencing. Under federal law, he is subject to a mandatory minimum term of 30 days in jail.

Bannon’s defence team did not present one during the trial, and he refrained from testifying.

A federal grand jury charged him in November after he missed deadlines in October to turn over the records and testimony the committee had subpoenaed.

The committee had cited Bannon’s interactions with Trump before the Capitol assault, his participation in the so-called Trump allies’ war room at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the day before the riot, and his comment on his podcast the day before the riot that “all hell” would “break loose” as reasons for demanding his cooperation.

The House committee report that recommended a contempt resolution against Mr Bannon stated, “In short, Mr Bannon appears to have played a multifaceted role in the events of January 6th, and the American people are entitled to hear his first-hand testimony regarding his actions.” In October, the House decided to declare Bannon in contempt.

Bannon entered the courtroom before the jury reconvened in a rather upbeat mood before the verdict was read. As soon as he got there, he threw his face mask on the table and sat there staring at his phone for a while, occasionally showing his lawyer a message.

Before the verdict was read, he had one hand bracing the table and only occasionally looked at the jury members while he was largely focused on the judge. After hearing the verdict, he grinned a little and sneered before patting his attorneys on the back.

In a quiet voice, the forewoman announced the verdict. She wore a green face mask, and the other members of the jury did too.

The unanimous “yes” response from the jury signalled their finding of guilt.

After the trial, Bannon remarked, “We may have lost the fight here today, but we’re not going to lose the war,” adding that he respected the jury’s decision.

Bannon stated that he continues to support the former President. I stand with Trump and the Constitution and I will never back off that, ever, the prosecutor omitted in the final argument, he claimed.

The Justice Department has so far accused two uncooperative witnesses of contempt of Congress. Bannon is one of them. Peter Navarro, a Trump White House adviser who has pleaded not guilty, was charged by a grand jury last month for failing to appear as requested by a committee.

However, according to CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino were the only two who were not charged.

“Punishment is the topic here. On CNN’s “Newsroom,” Honig stated that this was not about coercing someone into testifying.

“Steve Bannon is currently facing punishment because he disobeyed a congressional subpoena; as a result, the DOJ accused him and won their case. “That’s the victory,” stated Honig. However, there is still some ambiguity in this case because the DOJ declined to charge Dan Scavino and Mark Meadows.

The Justice Department told the jury in its closing statement on Friday that the case was “important” but “not difficult.”


Prosecutor Molly Gaston said, “This is a basic case involving a man — that individual — who didn’t come up. She claimed that Bannon “does not want to respect the authority of Congress or play by the rules of the government.”

In its closing remarks, Bannon’s team said that the jury had good grounds to distrust the prosecution’s evidence and that the government’s star witness was not unbiased.

Bannon’s lawyer Evan Corcoran said to the jury that his client “was not in a position to testify” for the committee, citing remarks made by Trump on executive privilege during the House probe.

Bannon’s attorney claimed that Trump’s public declarations of executive privilege barred Bannon from testifying or providing arguments when the House committee was pressing for his assistance; however, the committee flatly rejected this notion.

Lawmakers emphasised their interest in topics unrelated to conversations with Trump while reminding out that Bannon had long since left his position as a government employee.

Even though his attorneys found methods to highlight the matter, Bannon’s claims of executive privilege were not the main topic of discussion at the trial.

They did this notwithstanding the judge’s decisions that he or she believed to be mostly irrelevant to the components of the contempt charge, according to appellate precedent.

David Schoen, the lawyer for Bannon, vowed to appeal.

The appeal is impenetrable, Schoen told reporters. Have you ever heard a judge express his disagreement with the willfulness standard six times in a row?

He claims that is inconsistent with current legal doctrine and the accepted meaning, but he claims his actions were constrained by a 1961 court ruling. On appeal, you’ll see that this case was wronged.

Bannon may argue in an appeal that the trial proceedings should not have included executive privilege conversations.

Additionally, Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the select committee, and other committee members were the subject of various arguments made by Bannon’s team for the trial record as to why they should have been permitted to testify.

In response to a House motion to prevent their appearance, citing constitutional limitations on when lawmakers can be summoned, the judge declined to permit Bannon to call them to the witness stand.

The House employee who testified about the multiple exchanges between the committee and Bannon’s lawyer over the subpoenas and the House’s demands that he comply by the dates mentioned was called to the stand by the Justice Department throughout the trial.

The second witness for the prosecution was an FBI agent who gave a brief statement regarding Bannon’s social media posts sharing news stories describing his non-compliance.

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The defence attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of the witnesses by challenging the firmness of the subpoena deadlines, the legality of the subpoena’s issuance, and the assertion that Bannon’s opinions were represented in the social media reposts.

But neither Bannon nor the lawyer he hired to represent him before the committee testified.

Bannon’s trial attorney read a statement from Bannon to the court in which Bannon stated that although he had “very much wanted to” testify “since the day he was indicted,” the judge’s decisions had limited his options for defence, making it impossible for him to present “the true facts” if he did so. That statement was made without the jury present.

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