Trump ally Steve Bannon jailed for 4 months

Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, was sentenced Friday to four months in prison after being found guilty of flouting a subpoena before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol Hill. .

Federal Judge Carl Nichols allowed Bannon to remain free pending appeal and fined him $6,500 as part of his sentence. In July, a federal court found Bannon guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress: refusing to testify and refusing to produce documents.

In pronouncing the sentence, Nichols recalled that the law clearly establishes that contempt of Congress is punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of one month in jail. The prosecution had asked for a six-month sentence, while the defense had argued in favor of a period of probation.

“In my opinion, Mr. Bannon has not taken responsibility for his actions,” Nichols said before sentencing. “Others must be deterred from committing similar crimes.”

The Select Commission wanted Bannon to testify about his involvement in Trump’s attempts to nullify the 2020 presidential election. Bannon has yet to testify or provide requested documents.

Prosecutors had said that Bannon, 68, deserved a longer sentence for pursuing a “bad faith strategy” and because his public disparaging remarks about the commission show that he is trying to undermine efforts to unravel the violent attack and prevent something similar to happen again.

Bannon “chose to hide behind bogus invocations of executive privilege and the advice of his lawyers to mock Congress,” prosecutor JP Cooney said.

“Your Honor, the defendant is not above the law, and that is precisely why this case is important,” Cooney said. “It must be made clear to the public, to the citizens, that no one is above the law.”

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The defense, in turn, said Bannon did not act in bad faith, but rather was trying to avoid running afoul of executive privilege objections that Trump had raised when Bannon was initially subpoenaed by the panel last year. The former presidential adviser said she wanted a Trump lawyer in the room, but the committee wouldn’t allow it.

In sentencing, the judge noted that Bannon had an attorney and that while his advice may have been “excessively aggressive,” he appeared to be following it.

Many other former White House aides have testified with only their own lawyers present. Bannon had been fired from the White House in 2017 and was a private citizen when he was a consultant to the then president before the assault.

Before the judge pronounced his sentence, Bannon’s attorney, David Schoen, delivered a heated argument criticizing the committee, saying Bannon had simply done what his attorney recommended in accordance with the executive privilege objections expressed. by Trump.

“Frankly, Mr. Bannon shouldn’t apologize. No American should apologize for the way Mr. Bannon has proceeded in this case,” he said.

Schoen further defended Bannon’s public statements about the panel. “Speaking the truth about this commission or expressing opinions about this commission is not only acceptable in this country, it is an obligation if one considers it the truth,” Schoen said.

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