A White House adviser to former President Donald Trump was sentenced Friday in a Washington federal court to four months imprisonment.
Steven Bannon received his sentence, which included a $6,500 fine, from District Court Judge Carl Nichols in satisfaction of two contempt of Congress charges. Each charge carried a maximum three-month’s sentence along with a possible $100,000 fine. Department of Justice lawyers had asked Nichols to impose the maximum six-month sentence for Bannon.
The November 12, 2021, indictment of Bannon stemmed from his failure to comply with a subpoena issued by the House J6 Select Committee. One indictment was issued for failing to appear before the committee for questioning; the other was for failing to produce requested documents.
The former presidential adviser left the White House well before the Trump administration ended, which the court ruled invalidated any claim of executive privilege. Nichols also informed Bannon that he could not raise other planned defenses such as inneffective assistance of counsel, so he had no real defense to offer at trial.
Motions by Bannon’s defense team to subpoena House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House J6 Committee Chairman Benny Thompson (D-MS) were denied by the judge. Nichols also squashed plans to introduce evidence that the Justice Department failed to prosecute other White House advisers for the same offense he was on trial for.
Bannon was found guilty in a July jury trial, a verdict he announced plans to appeal.
“Others must be deterred from committing similar crimes,” said Nichols, a Trump appointee, during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
Bannon had shown “no remorse for his actions” and had yet to “demonstrate he has any intention of complying with the subpoena,” according to a New York Times report.
In issuing the sentence, Nichols repeated his belief Bannon’s refusal to testify was not protected by executive privilege. The judge noted Bannon’s belated effort to reach an agreement with the committee, his U.S. Navy service and lack of a criminal history.
Despite ruling Bannon had no legitimate claim to invoke executive privilege to disoby the J6 committe, Nichols noted the unsettled judicial status of executive privilege as another mitigating factor that swayed him from imposing a longer sentence.
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