Jury Convicts Steve Bannon On Both Counts Of Contempt Of Congress

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Former White House senior strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the Federal District Court House for the fifth day of his contempt of Congress trial on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. Bannon's... WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 22: Former White House senior strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the Federal District Court House for the fifth day of his contempt of Congress trial on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC. Bannon's legal team did not call witnesses and Bannon did not testify in his own defense during the trial. Former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign manager and Oval Office confidant, Bannon is being prosecuted by the Justice Department after he refused a subpoena to testify before the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress Friday after a jury trial in Washington, D.C.

In all, the jury took less than three hours to deliberate.

A federal grand jury indicted Bannon on the two misdemeanor charges in November last year, after he brushed off subpoenas for testimony and records from the congressional Jan. 6 Committee, claiming executive privilege even though it had been years since he worked in the White House. The House of Representatives had voted to hold him in contempt the month prior. 

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols set Bannon’s sentencing hearing for Oct. 21, according to multiple reports from the court room. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as fines of $100 to $100,000. Bannon will likely appeal the verdict.

Bannon earlier faced charges for a separate alleged crime — defrauding the donors of the private border-wall building effort WeBuildTheWall — but received a last minute pardon from Donald Trump two weeks after the Capitol attack. (Others charged in the scheme weren’t so lucky.)

Bannon pleaded not guilty to the contempt charges. Nichols rejected his effort to have the charges tossed last month. Another Bannon attempt to postpone his trial — citing the “inflammatory remarks” of Jan. 6 Committee members — was also unsuccessful. The former Trump aide even indicated, days ago, that he was, in fact, open to testifying before the committee. Prosecutors scoffed, calling the move “a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”

In the end, while he initially promised to turn the case into a “misdemeanor from hell” case for prosecutors — and he used the charges for weeks of fodder for his right-wing media ventures — Bannon ultimately decided to stay silent in court. 

“We’re not putting on a defense case,” David Schoen, one of Bannon’s attorneys, said in court Thursday. Prosecutors were similarly blunt.

“This case is not complicated but it is important,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston said during closing arguments Friday.

“When it really comes down to it, he did not want to recognize Congress’ authority or play by the government’s rules.”

Members of Congress have sought criminal charges against other Trump aides who’ve dodged subpoenas as well — namely chief of staff Mark Meadows, social media director Dan Scavino, trade advisor Peter Navarro. 

The Justice Department opted not to charge Meadows and Scavino. Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt by a federal grand jury last month, to which he pleaded not guilty

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