Steve Bannon, a longstanding ally of former President Donald Trump, is due to be sentenced on Friday after being found guilty of ignoring a subpoena from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 insurgency at the United States Capitol.
On Friday morning, he appeared at the federal courthouse in Washington for the sentencing hearing. In July, Bannon was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress: one for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to turn over documents.
Prosecutors have requested the judge in his case to sentence him to six months in prison, while Bannon’s lawyers have argued that their client deserves probation. The statutes for contempt of Congress each carry a minimum term of 30 days in jail, but Bannon’s attorneys contend that the judge might simply sentence him to probation rather than jail.
The House committee had requested testimony from Bannon over his involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Prosecutors said that Bannon has yet to testify or present any documents to the committee.
Prosecutors argued that Bannon, 68, deserved the longer sentence because he pursued a “bad faith strategy,” and his public statements disparaging the committee itself made it clear that he wanted to undermine their effort to get to the bottom of the violent attack and prevent it from happening again.
Meanwhile, the defence has stated that he was not operating in bad faith, but was attempting to avoid running afoul of executive privilege objections expressed by Trump when Bannon was originally served with a committee subpoena last year. The former presidential adviser stated that he requested a Trump lawyer in the room, but the committee refused.
Many other former White House employees have testified solely on their own behalf. Bannon had left the White House in 2017 and was a private man when he spoke with the then-president prior to the violence.
Bannon also stated that he was willing to testify provided Trump waived executive privilege. However, that was after the contempt charges were filed, and prosecutors claim that he would only agree to give the deposition if the matter was dropped.
Prosecutors have sought the maximum penalty, claiming that Bannon failed to answer routine inquiries about his income and insisted on paying whatever the judge imposed.
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