Steve Bannon found guilty on both contempt of Congress charges

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Steve Bannon found guilty on both contempt of Congress charges.

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Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist, appears on Friday at the federal court in Washington. Bannon was put on trial for criminal contempt of Congress on two federal counts after refusing to cooperate with the House committee looking into the U.S. Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021.

J.L. Magana / AP

Former Trump political advisor Steve Bannon was found guilty by a federal jury on two counts of criminally disobeying a subpoena in connection with the assault on the U.S. Capitol last year.

Just two government witnesses testified in the case, including the deputy staff director of the House Select Committee looking into the events of January 6, 2021, and Bannon offered no defense.

The Justice Department assured the jury that the case was clear-cut and as straightforward as the language on the subpoena sent to Bannon last fall.

In closing remarks, Assistant US Attorney Molly Gaston claimed that the defendant "choose fealty to Donald Trump over compliance with the law."

Trial for Steve Bannon's refusal of a panel subpoena issued on January 6th

Steve Bannon faces trial for ignoring a panel subpoena on January 6th.

Prosecutors claimed that Bannon had publicly declared his disobedience on the social media platform Gettr, writing that he had informed lawmakers he would "NOT comply" on October 8, 2021, after the first committee deadline had passed.

The Jan. 6 committee's Kristin Amerling, the lead government witness, informed the jury that the committee wanted to learn more about Bannon's interactions with former President Trump, his presence with others at the Willard Hotel in the early 2021, and his comment that "all hell is going to break loose" on the War Room podcast the day before the Capitol siege.

On July 21, 2022, at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, DC, during a hearing by the House Select Committee to look into the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, a video of former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is shown on a screen.

S. A. L. O. E. B. via Getty Images

Bannon's attorneys said he miscalculated the dates for the subpoenas and claimed political bias.

Thanks to his popularity in right-wing media and his connection to Trump, the former White House chief strategist has emerged as a major player in Republican politics.

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Bannon failed to show up for a deposition last year and offered no papers to the Democratic-led committee, arguing that Trump's assertion of executive privilege prevented him from appearing.

The claim of privilege was questioned by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, and Trump's own attorney implied that it would not cover Bannon's complete lack of cooperation with the House Select Committee.

The subpoena dates, which defense counsel Evan Corcoran referred to as "placeholders," were a mistake, he claimed, according to Bannon. Additionally, according to Corcoran, prosecutor Gaston and government witness Amerling were both members of the same book club and donated money to Democratic political candidates.

The problem with bias is that sometimes people lose awareness of it, Corcoran said the jury.

In the Steve Bannon trial, the prosecution has rested its case.

House Committee Hearings on January 6

In the Steve Bannon trial, the prosecution has rested its case.

The prosecution said that the attempt to politicize the case was merely a smokescreen to mislead the jurors.

Gaston stated, "The defendant is the only one making this case about politics, and he is doing it to divert your attention and perplex you. "Stop letting him,"

On the eve of the trial, Bannon offered to speak before Congress in a public session in an effort to postpone the lawsuit. That offer was deemed by the Justice Department to be a ruse and "not even a decent one," according to the prosecution, because it did not satisfy the panel's request for records.

After the verdict, the prosecution silently and without comment departed the courthouse. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves stated in writing, "Mr. Bannon was required to show up in front of the House Select Committee to testify and present evidence. He purposefully refused to do so, and a jury has now determined that he must bear the costs."

Bannon thanked the jury and judge for their service outside the building but slammed the members of the House Select Committee for holding what he called a "show trial." Bannon also promised to file an appeal, claiming that the legal dispute was far from over.

David Schoen, his attorney, noted that Judge Nichols had disregarded legal precedence that had eliminated some of Bannon's trial defenses, but added that the appeals court might give the matter another look once it got there. Schoen claimed there were a "astonishing" number of appellate problems and that it would be a "bullet-proof appeal."

Criminal contempt cases are uncommon, but so is a witness' choice to completely disregard congressional orders. When Bannon is sentenced on October 21 he might receive jail time as well as financial penalties.

Peter Navarro, a different significant Trump aide, is due to stand trial in November on contempt-related charges. Navarro entered a not-guilty plea.

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