Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has been sentenced to four months in prison after he was found guilty of defying a subpoena from the congressional committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol on January 6.
Judge Carl Nichols also imposed a $6,500 fine, adding that the 68-year-old, who did not take the stand during trial, had not taken responsibility for his actions. Bannon will remain free while he appeals against his conviction. Speaking outside the courthouse after the hearing on Friday, Bannon said he had “total respect” for the legal process.
A jury found Bannon guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress in July, for failing to appear before lawmakers or provide the records they requested.
Bannon’s legal team had claimed the former chair of Breitbart News believed he was protected under Trump’s executive privilege, even though Bannon had left the White House in 2017.
However, government lawyers noted that Bannon had refused to co-operate with the committee even after Trump had waived his executive privilege claim and that much of the evidence requested from Bannon was not privileged.
The US government had asked the judge to impose a six-month sentence — the most severe punishment possible under the guidelines — and $200,000 fine for his “sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress”.
Bannon’s lawyers had asked for probation, arguing that the defendant had merely followed legal advice in refusing to comply with the subpoena.
Donald Trump’s former political adviser received a subpoena in September 2021 from the committee probing the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. In November, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for contempt of Congress.
The panel of lawmakers was seeking information from Bannon linked to meetings he attended at the Willard Hotel in Washington, DC, before riots took place aimed at blocking certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential election victory.
In its latest session, the January 6 committee voted unanimously to issue a subpoena to Trump, who lawmakers have blamed for the violent riots at the Capitol.
Prosecutors alleged that Bannon attempted to get members of Congress to block the certification of Biden’s election, pointing to a podcast recording in which Bannon predicted “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow”, on the eve of January 6.
Bannon was chief political strategist during Trump’s 2016 campaign. After working at the White House from January to August 2017, he was dismissed by the former president following the neo-Nazi protest in Charlottesville in which a woman died.