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Impending Prison Time for Steve Bannon as Appeal Falls Short

Steve Bannon

The court affirms Bannon’s conviction, possibly leading to imprisonment after a prolonged legal fight.

Bannon, 70, was found guilty in 2022 of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the committee investigating the 6 January Capitol riot. The decision carries a four-month prison sentence and a fine of $6,500 (£5,200).

Despite Bannon’s denial of any criminal activity, he remained free on bond while contesting his conviction. His legal team has consistently framed the case as politically motivated and argued that Bannon sought to negotiate rather than outright ignore the committee’s subpoenas.

Bannon maintained that he followed legal advice when he declined to testify before the House committee probing the 2021 attack, which was intended to thwart the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.

Steve Bannon

However, the US DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Bannon’s defense, stating that his reliance on the “advice of counsel” was not a valid defense under established law. Justice Bradley Garcia, writing on behalf of the court, emphasized that Bannon’s argument contradicted settled legal precedent.

While Bannon has not been immediately ordered to begin his prison term, he now has seven days to file another appeal. David Schoen’s lawyer announced plans to request a hearing before the full 11-member DC appeals court. Schoen argued that Bannon was prohibited by law from testifying due to Donald Trump’s invocation of executive privilege, which allows presidents to keep certain communications confidential.

Bannon’s conviction follows that of another Trump aide, Peter Navarro, who began serving his prison sentence in March for contempt of Congress. Navarro, in his 2021 memoir “In Trump Time,” claimed responsibility for devising a strategy to challenge the 2020 election results.

Bannon, a pivotal figure in Trump’s 2016 election campaign and subsequent tenure as chief strategist at the White House, has maintained his influence within far-right circles despite leaving his official position in 2017 following the Charlottesville rally.

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