Prosecutors Recommend Steve Bannon Be Sentenced To Six Months In Prison For Failing To Comply With January 6th Committee Subpoena
UPDATED: Federal prosecutors have recommended that Steve Bannon be sentenced to six months in prison for flouting a subpoena issued last year by the January 6th Committee.
Bannon is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday after a jury in July found him guilty of contempt of Congress charges.
The minimum sentence is 31 days, but in a filing on Monday, prosecutors wrote that Bannon “has pursued a bad faith strategy of defiance and contempt” to warrant a maximum penalty.
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Prosecutors also recommended a $200,000 fine “based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation.”
Later on Monday, Bannon’s attorneys filed their own sentencing recommendation, arguing that he should be sentenced to probation, and to stay that sentence pending appeal. His attorneys argued that he was convicted “without being allowed to introduce evidence negating willfulness, and specifically, evidence that he relied in good faith on his counsel’s advice.”
“Imposing a sentence of incarceration without requiring proof that Mr. Bannon knew that his conduct was wrong, where the statute requires one to act ‘willfully,’ would violate his rights under the 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments to the United States Constitution,” his attorneys wrote.
Prosecutors, however, noted that throughout the legal proceedings “Bannon has exploited his notoriety—through courthouse press conferences and his War Room podcast—to display to the public the source of his bad-faith refusal to comply with the Committee’s subpoena: a total disregard for government processes and the law. Through his public platforms, the Defendant has used hyperbolic and sometimes violent rhetoric to disparage the Committee’s investigation, personally attack the Committee’s members, and ridicule the criminal justice system.”
The Justice Department cited, among other things, cited one press conference outside the courthouse in which Bannon derided committee chairman Bennie Thompson and called the January 6th Committee proceedings a “show trial.”
Bannon, a Hollywood film producer in the 1990s who then pursued politics via documentaries and at Brietbart.com, served as chief adviser to Donald Trump for the first six months of his presidency. He has since hosted a regular podcast.
Bannon, who is appealing the jury’s verdict, had challenged the subpoenas last year on the grounds that Trump had asserted executive privilege. But the committee and prosecutors pointed out that Bannon left the White House in 2017, and has been a private citizen since then.
In its resolution last year recommending the contempt charge, the January 6th Committee said that Bannon “appears to have had multiple roles relevant to this investigation, including his role in constructing and participating in the ‘stop the steal’ public relations effort that motivated the attack, his efforts to plan political and other activity in advance of January 6th, and his participation in the events of that day from a ‘war room’ organized at the Willard InterContinental Washington D.C. Hotel.” The committee has since revealed during their hearings that Bannon talked to Trump twice on January 5.
Bannon also is facing charges in New York state court alleging that he schemed to defraud via the non profit We Build The Wall Inc., which raised money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Bannon has claimed that the charges are politically motivated.
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