May 30, 2024

Donald Trump‘s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is likely headed to prison after an appeals court upheld his conviction for contempt of Congress.

He was handed a four-month sentence in 2022 for refusing to give evidence to a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

But it was put on hold as he appealed, saying that he acted in good faith by following legal advice and that he was barred from including critical evidence at his trial. 

The decision came on Friday when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his challenge.

‘Bannon insists that ‘wilfully’ should be interpreted to require bad faith and argues that his non-compliance does not qualify because his lawyer advised him not to respond to the subpoena,’ wrote Judge Bradley Garcia.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon lost his appeal against two counts of contempt of Congress Friday and will have to report to prison

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday upheld Bannon's conviction for defying a subpoena from a congressional panel that investigated the Jan 6. attack on the U.S. Capitol

A U.S. federal appeals court on Friday upheld Bannon’s conviction for defying a subpoena from a congressional panel that investigated the Jan 6. attack on the U.S. Capitol

But, he continued, the court’s position is that ‘willfully’ only means deliberately.

‘Because we have no basis to depart from that binding precedent, and because none of Bannon’s other challenges to his conviction have merit, we affirm.’ 

Bannon was one of a string of Trump allies who refused to obey a subpoena to testify before the House investigation into the Jan. 6 violence, claiming ‘executive privilege’ protected conversations and other information related to the presidency.

He was held in contempt by the House on a largely party lines votes in October 2021.

And sentencing Judge Carl Nichols said he had no grounds to claim privilege, given that he had left the White House years before the events on Jan. 6. 

‘Some of the information sought by the subpoena is information under which no conceivable claim of executive privilege could’ve been made,’ Nichols said. 

He was handed two four-month sentences for two charges of contempt, to run concurrently, and fined $6500.

Bannon appealed on four grounds: That the district court was wrong to say he willfully ignored the subpoena; that his conduct was affirmed by government officials; that the subpoena was invalid; and that he was not allowed to use key evidence for his defense.

All four arguments were rejected in a 20-page ruling. 

Bannon is seen in the State Dining Room of the White House in February 2017 with President Donald Trump and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk

Bannon is seen in the State Dining Room of the White House in February 2017 with President Donald Trump and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk

Bannon spoke with Trump at least twice on January 5, attended a planning meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. and said on his podcast, 'all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,' according to J6 committee

Bannon spoke with Trump at least twice on January 5, attended a planning meeting at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C. and said on his podcast, ‘all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,’ according to J6 committee 

Bannon pictured as he spoke to the media after arriving at federal court to be sentenced on October 21, 2022 in Washington, DC

Bannon pictured as he spoke to the media after arriving at federal court to be sentenced on October 21, 2022 in Washington, DC

Bannon will follow Peter Navarro (pictured)  becoming the second Trump aide reporting to federal prison after being found guilty of contempt of Congress

Bannon will follow Peter Navarro (pictured)  becoming the second Trump aide reporting to federal prison after being found guilty of contempt of Congress

He is not entirely out of legal options, and could ask the full appeals court to hear his case or take it to the Supreme Court, but legal analysts were quick to say that he had little hope of winning. 

Bannon joined the Trump campaign in 2016 and went to the White House as chief strategist.

But he lost a power struggle and was soon ousted. Since then he has become a key voice of Trump’s MAGA movement. 

Peter Navarro, another Trump ally, reported to a federal prison in Miami in March, becoming the first former White House official to be imprisoned for contempt of Congress.

Meanwhile, in another reminder of the turmoil of the Trump years, the former president is sitting in a New York courtroom where he in on trial, accused of 34 counts of falsifying business records.

He denies all the charges but this week had to endure two days of testimony by Stormy Daniels, the adult movie star who says she slept with Trump in 2006.