Steve Bannon, a far right commentator and former presidential adviser in the Trump White House, was sentenced to four months in prison by a federal judge on Friday, following a guilty verdict in his contempt of Congress trial earlier this year.
The House select committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol building subpoenaed Bannon for information in September 2021 regarding his communications with former President Donald Trump in the run-up to the January 6 attack, as well as any knowledge he had of possible coordination between far right extremist groups that had engaged in violence that day.
Bannon, who had served briefly as Trump’s chief White House strategist, had predicted on his podcast the day before the attack that “all hell” was going to “break loose” when Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which President Joe Biden had won. “It’s all converging, and now we’re on, as they say, the point of attack,” Bannon added.
Bannon received the subpoena on September 24, 2021, but refused to respond to the committee before the deadline of October 7, 2021, his indictment from the Department of Justice (DOJ) noted. After that deadline passed, Bannon’s lawyer sent a letter to the committee, telling them that he wouldn’t comply and citing the dubious argument that doing so would violate Trump’s executive privilege — even though he was not an official adviser to Trump beyond August 2017, more than three years before the Capitol attack.
The committee voted to find Bannon in contempt of Congress, and the full House of Representatives voted in favor of that resolution exactly one year ago. The DOJ formally indicted Bannon a month later, and a jury deliberated for less than three hours before rendering a guilty verdict in July.
Before his sentencing on Friday, Bannon repeatedly spouted false and incendiary rhetoric about the 2020 election, claiming that Biden is an “illegitimate” president and that Democrats will face their “judgment day” in the midterms.
Prosecutors alleged during the trial that Bannon had “pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt” after receiving the subpoena. Judge Carl Nichols, district judge of the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia, agreed with this sentiment, stating in his order that “others must be deterred from committing similar crimes.”
Bannon’s lawyers have indicated that he plans to appeal the verdict. Nichols has determined that Bannon can remain out of prison pending the appeals process.
Bannon also faces legal troubles unrelated to the January 6 attack. He has been charged with defrauding donors who gave him and others large sums of cash for a project relating to building a three-mile wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Prosecutors in that case allege Bannon used millions of dollars from that campaign for his own personal use.