(CTN News) – Steve Bannon, former Trump adviser, has been found guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the January 6 attack.
In its historic investigation, the House January 6 select committee continues to seek the cooperation of reluctant witnesses. Moreover, it is a victory for the Justice Department, which has been under intense scrutiny since the January 6 attack.
In less than three hours, the jury reached a unanimous verdict on the two contempt charges after nearly two days of hearing evidence and witness testimony.
On October 21, Bannon will be sentenced. Federal law
requires him to serve at least 30 days in jail.
The defense team for Steve Bannon did not mount a defense during the trial, and he did not testify.
His indictment came after he missed October deadlines for producing documents and testimony the committee had requested.
It was pointed out that Steve Bannon had contacted Trump during the lead-up to the assault on the Capitol, he was in the war room of Trump allies the day before, and he predicted that “all hell” was going to break loose on his podcast before the riot.
The House committee report recommended a contempt resolution against Bannon because he played a multi-faceted role in the events of January 6th. Bannon was held in contempt of the House in October.
Steve Bannon arrived in the courtroom before the jury reassembled in a relatively buoyant mood. After throwing down his mask, he sat on his phone for several minutes, occasionally showing his lawyer a message.
When the jury assembled, and just before the verdict was read, he braced the table and glanced at the jurors just a few times, primarily watching the judge.
Steve Bannon lawyers patted him on the back after the verdict was read and he smiled and smirked a bit.
In a soft voice, the forewoman read the verdict. As did the rest of the jury, she wore a green face mask.
A unanimous verdict of guilty was reached by the jurors.
The prosecutor said Steve Bannon case was simple
Its closing argument Friday emphasized the “importance” of the case, not its “complexity.”
The case revolves around a man who failed to appear, according to prosecutor Molly Gaston.
As she put it, Bannon “didn’t recognize Congress’ authority or play by the government’s rules.”
During the closing argument, Bannon’s team argued that the jury had reason to doubt the government’s case while suggesting that the government’s key witness was biased.
He pointed to Trump’s statements about executive privilege in the House investigation to explain why Bannon wasn’t in a position to testify.
Bannon’s attorney testified about several communications between the committee and the Justice Department about his subpoenas and the House’s demands that he comply within the deadlines. A second witness for the prosecution was an FBI agent who briefly discussed Bannon’s social media posts describing his non-compliance with the law.
Debate about executive privilege and deadlines
Steve Bannon may appeal the decision regarding how executive privilege discussions should have been incorporated into the trial proceedings.
Bannon’s attorney testified about several communications between the committee and the Justice Department about his subpoenas and the House’s demands that he comply within the deadlines.
A second witness for the prosecution was an FBI agent who briefly discussed Bannon’s social media posts describing his non-compliance with the law.
The defense attempted to undermine their testimony by creating doubt that the subpoena deadlines were firm, that the subpoena was properly issued, and that the social media reposts reflected Bannon’s views.
When Bannon’s lawyer read his statement during the trial, he pleaded for the opportunity to testify, but the judge’s rulings prevented him from telling “the truth” if he took the witness stand. The jury was not present for that statement.
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