A jury discovered Bannon, 68, responsible of two misdemeanor counts for refusing to offer testimony or paperwork to the Home of Representatives choose committee because it scrutinizes the Jan. 6, 2021, rampage by Trump supporters who tried to upend the outcomes of the 2020 presidential election.
Every contempt of Congress rely is punishable by 30 days to 1 yr behind bars, in addition to a fantastic of $100 to $100,000.
The decision by the jury of eight males and 4 girls, after lower than three hours of deliberations, marked the primary profitable prosecution for contempt of Congress since 1974, when a decide discovered G. Gordon Liddy, a conspirator within the Watergate scandal that prompted President Richard Nixon’s resignation, responsible.
Bannon was a key adviser to the Republican Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign, then served as his chief White Home strategist throughout 2017 earlier than a falling out between the 2 that was later patched up. Bannon additionally has performed an instrumental position in right-wing media.
His protection staff in closing arguments on Friday recommended to jurors that Bannon was a political goal and painted the primary prosecution witness as a politically motivated Democrat with ties to one of many prosecutors. The prosecution countered that
Bannon confirmed disdain for the authority of Congress and wanted to be held accountable for his illegal defiance.
Prosecutor Molly Gaston advised jurors the assault represented a “darkish day” for America, including: “There’s nothing political about discovering out why Jan. 6 occurred and ensuring it by no means occurs once more.”
Evan Corcoran, certainly one of Bannon’s attorneys, advised jurors, “The query is, ‘Why? Why was Steve Bannon singled out?”
The trial featured two days of testimony. Prosecutors questioned solely two witnesses. The protection known as none.
The conviction might strengthen the committee’s place because it seeks to safe testimony and paperwork from others in Trump’s orbit. Trump final yr requested his associates to not cooperate with the committee, accusing it of making an attempt to harm him politically, and a number of other of them rebuffed the committee.
One other former Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, was individually was charged with contempt of Congress in June for refusing to seem for a deposition with the committee. Navarro’s trial is scheduled to start in November.
The Justice Division opted to not cost two different Trump associates, Mark Meadows and Daniel Scavino, for defying the committee regardless of a Home vote recommending them. In contrast to Bannon, Meadows turned over some communications to the committee.
The committee may make a number of referrals to the Justice Division searching for legal expenses towards Trump himself, in accordance with its vice chair Liz Cheney.
The primary prosecution witness was Kristin Amerling, a prime committee staffer who testified that Bannon spurned deadlines to answer the September 2021 subpoena, sought no extensions and supplied an invalid rationale for his defiance – a declare by Trump involving a authorized doctrine known as government privilege that may preserve sure presidential communications confidential.
The Justice Division charged Bannon final November after the Democratic-led Home voted the prior month to carry him in contempt. Bannon individually was charged in 2020 with defrauding donors to a non-public fund-raising effort to spice up Trump’s venture to construct a wall alongside the U.S.-Mexican border. Trump subsequently issued a pardon to Bannon earlier than that case may go to trial.
A professional-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and attacked police with batons, sledgehammers, flag poles, Taser gadgets, chemical irritants, metallic pipes, rocks, metallic guard rails and different weapons in a failed effort to dam congressional certification of his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
The committee has mentioned Bannon spoke with Trump at the least twice on the day earlier than the assault and attended a planning assembly at a Washington resort. It performed a clip of Bannon saying on his right-wing podcast the day earlier than the assault that “all hell goes to interrupt unfastened tomorrow.”
U.S. District Choose Carl Nichols restricted the scope of the case Bannon’s staff may current to the jury, strikes that certainly one of his attorneys mentioned “badly stymied” the protection. Bannon was barred from arguing that he believed his communications with Trump had been topic to government privilege. He was additionally prohibited from arguing he relied on authorized recommendation from an legal professional in refusing to conform.
Bannon’s protection argued that he believed the subpoena’s deadlines had been versatile and topic to negotiation between his legal professional and the committee. In an Eleventh-hour reversal with the trial looming, Bannon this month introduced a willingness to testify in a public listening to earlier than the committee, a proposal that prosecutors mentioned didn’t change the truth that he had already damaged the regulation.