Steve Bannon faces up to two years in prison while awaiting conviction

Steven Bannon, Donald Trump’s longtime ally, faces up to two years in prison when he is convicted of contempt of Congress on Friday, although he is likely to receive a shorter sentence.

The former White House strategist was found guilty in July of two counts of contempt for Congress after he failed to comply with a subpoena from the House Select Committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Bannon, who tried to argue he shouldn’t have to comply, citing disputed claims to executive privileges, faces a year in prison in any case.

The actual sentence handed down will almost certainly be shorter, with the Department of Justice (DoJ) even recommending that Bannon receive six months in prison and a $200,000 fine.

Steve Bannon set
Former senior White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the Federal District Court House on July 22, 2022 in Washington, DC for the fifth day of his contempt of congress trial. Bannon faces a maximum of two years in prison if he is sentenced on October 21.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

In legal acts filed Monday, the DoJ said Bannon should be given the “top end” of state sentencing guidelines because of his “persistent, malicious contempt” for Congress.

Prosecutors also argued that Bannon’s one-month minimum sentence was an “insufficient” sentence.

“To date, he remains in default: More than a year after accepting service of the Committee’s subpoena, the defendant has not produced — nor sought — a single document or answered a single deposition question,” the DoJ wrote.

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani said that while Bannon faces up to two years in prison, he is “unlikely” to get the maximum amount.

“Federal judges typically follow sentencing guidelines and rarely hand down sentences for similar behavior,” Rahmani said news week.

“Because Bannon has no criminal record and was only convicted of misdemeanor offenses, his recommended range is between zero and six months in prison. The government recommends the upper end of this range, i.e. six months.”

Rahmani added that Bannon will certainly face jail time for his contempt conviction for the one-month minimum sentence the offense carries. Bannon’s legal team has voted in favor of parole.

In separate filings Monday, Bannon’s defense team said he should avoid jail time because the Trump ally is relying on the advice of his attorney, Robert Costello, to contest the subpoena.

“Bannon was convicted without being allowed to produce any evidence disproving the premeditation, and specifically evidence that he had relied in good faith on the advice of his attorney,” Bannon’s new attorney, Evan Corcoran, wrote.

“Should someone who has spent his life listening to experts – as a naval officer,
Investment banker, corporate executive and adviser to the President – jailed for relying on the advice of his lawyers?

Even if Bannon gets a relatively short sentence, Rahmani argues the conviction will matter as prosecutors show no one is “above the law.”

“Bannon didn’t think he was going to be indicted, and even just before his trial he tried to negotiate with the House committee to have the indictments dropped, which the panel can’t even do,” Rahmani said news week.

“Whether Bannon is sentenced to jail, Donald Trump’s home is searched, or Alex Jones is being sued by Sandy Hook victims, the proverbial chickens have come home to settle down and the law is finally catching up with their wrongdoing.” Steve Bannon faces up to two years in prison while awaiting conviction

Rick Schindler

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