Steve Bannon: Former Trump adviser facing jail after being found guilty of contempt of Congress

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Steve Bannon: Former Trump adviser facing jail after being found guilty of contempt of Congress
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Steve Bannon, an influential one-time advisor to President Donald Trump, faces jail after he was found guilty of contempt of Congress.

He was charged for refusing to appear before the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol and the events leading up to the deadly riot following Trump’s defeat in the US election.

A jury found him guilty on two counts: one for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

He faces up to two years in federal prison when he is sentenced on October 21. Each count carries a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail.

Steve Bannon (REUTERS)
Steve Bannon (REUTERS)

An apparently unrepentant Bannon told reporters: “We may have lost a battle here today but we haven’t lost the war”.

One of his lawyers, David Schoen, said the verdict would not stand.

Speaking outside the court, he said: “This is round one.

“You will see this case reversed on appeal.”

The verdict by the jury of eight men and four women, after less than three hours of deliberations, marked the first successful prosecution for contempt of Congress since 1974, when a judge found G. Gordon Liddy, a conspirator in the Watergate scandal that prompted President Richard Nixon’s resignation, guilty.

Bannon, 68, was a key adviser to the Republican Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, then served as his chief White House strategist during 2017 before a falling out between the two that was later patched up. Bannon also has played an instrumental role in right-wing media.

The Trump ally’s defence team told jurors he was a political target and painted the main prosecution witness as a politically motivated Democrat with ties to one of the prosecutors. The prosecution countered that Bannon showed disdain for the authority of Congress and needed to be held accountable.

The Justice Department charged Bannon last November after the Democratic-led House voted the prior month to hold him in contempt. Bannon separately was charged in 2020 with defrauding donors to a private fund-raising effort to boost Mr Trump’s project to build a wall along the US-Mexican border.

Mr Trump subsequently issued a pardon to Bannon before that case could go to trial.

A pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on January 6 and attacked police with batons, sledgehammers, flag poles, Taser devices, chemical irritants, metal pipes, rocks, metal guard rails and other weapons in a failed effort to block congressional certification of his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump in the Capitol building in Washington DC (AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of former President Donald Trump in the Capitol building in Washington DC (AFP via Getty Images)

The committee has said Bannon spoke with Mr Trump at least twice on the day before the attack and attended a planning meeting at a Washington hotel. It played a clip of Bannon saying on his right-wing podcast the day before the attack that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

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