Steve Bannon, who was found guilty of two counts of criminal contempt over the summer after refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee, avoided the bombastic language for which he is so well known on Monday in a sentencing memo, pleading with the court to grant him probation for any sentence to be stayed pending an appeal.
The Department of Justice recommended that Bannon, who had already been granted a pardon on unrelated fraud-related crimes by former President Donald Trump, be given a $200,000 fine and six months in jail.
Bannon shouted that he would make the case into “the misdemeanor from hell” and pledged to fight the contempt charges. In their recommended sentence, federal prosecutors said that Bannon had made a number of outrageous comments outside the courtroom, including threats to “go medieval” on his adversaries and comparisons of the proceedings to a “Moscow show trial of the 1930s.”
Bannon changed his strategy in the document and blamed his attorneys for his legal troubles, appearing to be intimidated by the trial and facing potential jail time:
Should someone who has spent their whole life seeking the opinion of experts—as a naval officer, investment banker, business leader, and presidential advisor—be put in jail for doing so? In his memo, Bannon also made the case that he shouldn’t go to jail because of his proximity to Trump while he was in the White House.gov.uscourts.dcd.237438.154.0_1
Mr. Bannon served as one of President Donald J. Trump’s key advisers. He was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress under 2 U.S.C. 192 by a jury on July 22, 2022, for refusing to comply with a congressional demand for records and testimony over which President Trump claimed executive privilege. Trials under 2 U.S.C. 192 are uncommon. Even more uncommon—and perhaps may be the first—are the convictions of former senior presidential aides for contempt of Congress.
Bannon served as Trump’s top adviser for a brief while before being fired from the White House in August 2017. As the contempt charges centered around the events surrounding the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, federal investigators didn’t seem to be alarmed by Bannon’s earlier connections to the former president.
The DOJ filing stated that the defendant “should be sentenced to six months imprisonment for his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress, at the top end of the Sentencing Guidelines’ range, and fined $200,000 — based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation.”
“The rioters who took over the Capitol on January 6 attacked more than simply a structure; they attacked the rule of law, upon which this nation was founded and on which it has survived. The Defendant increased that attack by disobeying the subpoena and authority of the Select Committee,” the prosecution said.
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