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Steve Bannon May Spend Most of Election Season in Prison

by California Digital News

Steve Bannon Attends Court Hearing For Contempt Of Congress Convictions

Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives at the federal courthouse on June 6, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

It’s been a long road, but Steve Bannon might finally be behind bars soon.

On Thursday, a federal judge ordered that the longtime Trump adviser and conservative provocateur report to prison by July 1, after an appeals panel rejected his attempt to overturn his pending sentence. If Bannon reports as scheduled, he would be released just days before the 2024 general election.

In July 2022, Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress after he defied a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. He was sentenced to four months in prison along with a $6,500 fine, a ruling he immediately appealed.

In his attempt to overturn the sentence, Bannon had argued that his legal counsel had advised him to ignore the subpoena, using a tactic known as “advice-of-counsel defense.” But a three-panel judge of the U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals did not buy Bannon’s argument. “This exact ‘advice of counsel’ defense is no defense at all,” the judges wrote in May, per CNN.

The panel’s ruling left room for Bannon to appeal to the full court, but prosecutors soon filed a motion requesting that U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols lift the pause on Bannon’s sentence. Nichols, a Trump appointee, agreed.

Outside the courthouse, Bannon vowed to continue fighting his sentence. “We’re gonna go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to,” he said. That would hardly be unprecedented for ex-Trump advisers: Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser, appealed to the Supreme Court to get him out of serving his own four-month sentence for contempt of Congress. The Court declined, and Navarro reported to a Miami prison in March.

Still, Bannon remained defiant. “There’s nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up. There’s not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up,” he said.

In a Truth Social post, Trump called Bannon’s pending prison sentence a “Total and Complete American Tragedy” and suggested that members of the January 6 committee, such as former representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, needed to face consequences of their own.  “INDICT THE UNSELECT J6 COMMITTEE FOR ILLEGALLY DELETING AND DESTROYING ALL OF THEIR “FINDINGS!” MAGA2024,” he wrote.

Even after this sentence is over, Bannon will not be out of the legal woods. In 2022, Bannon was indicted by New York authorities for allegedly bilking donors in a fraudulent scheme to build a wall on the southern border. Bannon was under federal indictment for that same scheme in 2020 but was pardoned by Trump, who will likely mull using that power again if he wins reelection. The trial was slated to begin last month under Judge Juan Merchan, who recently presided over the Trump hush-money trial. But proceedings have since been postponed.

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