Supreme Court denies Steve Bannon’s request to delay prison sentence

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that Steve Bannon must begin his four-month prison sentence on contempt of Congress charges as his appeal proceeds.

The one-sentence order, which had no public dissents, keeps in place Monday’s deadline for the onetime Trump strategist to report to prison, rejecting Bannon’s emergency effort to delay it.

It makes Bannon the second Trump White House aide to serve prison time in connection with defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser to Trump, began his sentence in March after his emergency appeal at the Supreme Court similarly failed.

Two years ago, a federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Bannon on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to appear for a deposition before the Jan. 6 panel and refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents.

As Bannon appealed, his trial judge had enabled him to delay his sentence because of a federal law that keeps defendants free if their appeal presents a substantial legal question likely to result in a reversal or new trial.

But after the first stage of Bannon’s appeal failed in May, the judge granted prosecutors’ request to end the pause, ordering Bannon to begin his sentence by July 1.

He has since filed emergency delay motions until he exhausts his appeal, noting it has not yet reached a court with authority to overturn a key precedent leveraged in Bannon’s prosecution.

Given that Bannon’s sentence is only four months, his appeal would likely still be ongoing when he is released from jail.

“There is also no denying the fact that the government seeks to imprison Mr. Bannon for the four-month period immediately preceding the November presidential election. There is no reason for that outcome in a case that presents substantial legal issues,” R. Trent McCotter, Bannon’s lawyer, wrote to the justices.

Prosecutors opposed Bannon’s emergency motion, telling the Supreme Court “he cannot make the demanding showing necessary to override the normal requirement that a convicted defendant begin serving his sentence.”

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