Steve Bannon sentenced to a four-month prison sentence for ignoring a committee subpoena on January 6

The longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, who was allowed to stay free pending appeal, was convicted in July of two counts of contempt of Congress.

After refusing to appear before the House committee looking into the Jan. 6 uprising at the U.S. Capitol, Steve Bannon, a steadfast confidant of former President Donald Trump, was given a four-month prison sentence on Friday.

Bannon was given a stay of execution awaiting appeal, and the judge also levied a $6,500 fine as part of the punishment. In July, a jury found Bannon guilty on two charges of contempt of Congress: one charge stemmed from his refusal to take a deposition, while the other charge was related to his refusal to turn over documents.

After stating that the law was clear that a mandatory minimum punishment of at least one month in jail was required for contempt of Congress, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols handed down the sentence. Bannon’s lawyers had argued the judge could’ve sentenced him to probation instead. Prosecutors had asked for Bannon to be sent to jail for six months.

The House panel had sought Bannon’s testimony over his involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Bannon has yet to testify or provide any documents to the committee, prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors argued Bannon, 68, deserved the longer sentence because he had pursued a “bad faith strategy” and his public statements disparaging the committee made it clear he wanted to undermine their effort to get to the bottom of the violent attack and keep anything like it from happening again.

“He chose to hide behind fabricated claims of executive privilege and advice of counsel to thumb his nose at Congress,” said prosecutor J.P. Cooney.

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

When Bannon was initially served with a committee subpoena last year, Trump objected on the grounds of executive privilege, according to the defence, which said Bannon wasn’t operating in bad faith. The former presidential adviser claimed that he wanted a Trump lawyer there but that the committee forbade it.

Other former White House officials who testified only on their own behalf included a large number. Bannon was a private individual and no longer employed by the White House when he advised the president before the incident. He had been ousted from that position in 2017.

David Schoen, Bannon’s attorney, argued passionately against the committee before the judge handed down the punishment, claiming that Bannon had only followed instructions from his lawyer told him to do under Trump’s executive privilege objections.

“Quite frankly, Mr. Bannon should make no apology. No American should make any apology for the manner in which Mr. Bannon proceeded in this case,” he said.

Schoen also defended Bannon’s public remarks about the committee: “Telling the truth about this committee or speaking one’s mind about this committee, it’s not only acceptable in this country, it’s an obligation if one believes it to be true,” Schoen said.

“This illegitimate regime, their judgment day is on 8 November when the Biden administration finishes,” Bannon told reporters as he entered court on Friday. During the hearing, Bannon remained silent and merely remarked, “My attorneys have spoken for me, your honour.”

Bannon has also claimed that once Trump waived executive privilege, he offered to testify. However, that was following the filing of the contempt charges, and according to the prosecution, he would only agree to do the deposition if the matter was dropped.

The prosecution sought the maximum fine because they claimed Bannon refused to respond to simple inquiries about his income and asserted he could pay whatever the judge ordered.

Bannon is also facing separate money laundering, fraud, and conspiracy charges in New York related to the “We Build the Wall” campaign. Bannon has pleaded not guilty.