The Justice Department is recommending that longtime Trump adviser Steve Bannon be sentenced to six months in jail and pay a fine of $200,000 for defying a subpoena from the select House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The committee subpoenaed Bannon in September 2021 for testimony and documents related to Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the election including the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. But Bannon refused to cooperate, arguing that his testimony was covered was executive privilege even though he was not a member of the Trump administration at that time.
On Monday, prosecutors say Bannon “has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt” since he received the subpoena in 2021.
“The Committee sought documents and testimony from the Defendant relevant to a matter of national importance: the circumstances that led to a violent attack on the Capitol and disruption of the peaceful transfer of power. In response, the Defendant flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands,” prosecutors said.
The DOJ also revealed that Bannon’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, contacted the Jan. 6 committee and told them that his client would only cooperate if the committee urged the DOJ to drop the contempt charges against him.
When Tim Heaphy, the committee’s counsel declined, prosecutors noted that Corcoran “never contacted the Government—perhaps because the Government had made clear through its pleadings and at argument that it understood the Defendant’s actions to be a stunt and would not consider dismissing the case.”
Prosecutors also noted that Bannon “has used hyperbolic and sometimes violent rhetoric to disparage the Committee’s investigation, personally attack the Committee’s members, and ridicule the criminal justice system,” through public appearances and on his ‘War Room’ podcast.
“The Defendant’s statements prove that his contempt was not aimed at protecting executive privilege or the Constitution, rather it was aimed at undermining the Committee’s efforts to investigate an historic attack on government,” prosecutors said.
Bannon was found guilty in July of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify and provide documents to the select committee. He will be sentenced this Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols.
“For his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress, the Defendant should be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment—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,” prosecutors said.