Steve Bannon, a top adviser to former President Donald Trump, was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress on Friday for refusing to comply with a subpoena to testify and provide documents to the committee on Jan. 6.
He now faces a maximum of one year in prison on each count.
Bannon was subpoenaed by the committee for a recorded statement on October 1. On January 14 to provide information about what he knew about the January 6 riots and then turn over related documents on October 1. 16-none of which he did. He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with the congressional subpoena.
Ultimately, jurors were tasked with determining whether Bannon defied the congressional subpoena on purpose. After three days of arguments, a 12-person jury found yes.
His sentencing date has been set for October 1. twenty-one
Throughout the week-long trial, prosecutors argued that Bannon behaved as if he were above the law by defying the subpoena.
“That subpoena was not a request, it was not an invitation. It was mandatory,” Assistant US Attorney Amanda Vaughn said in her opening statement Tuesday. “The defendant decided that he was above the law and decided that he did not have to follow the orders of the government like his fellow citizens.”
Several defenses that Bannon’s team wanted to present were rejected by US District Judge Carl J. Nichols at a pretrial hearing earlier this month. In the end, his attorneys were only allowed to argue if Bannon knew when he was due to respond to the subpoena. Bannon’s request to delay the trial by three months was also denied.
During opening statements, Bannon’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, argued that Bannon was still in negotiations with the committee when he was charged with contempt of Congress.
“The citation dates were not set,” Corcoran said. “They were flexible.”
Prosecutors called two witnesses to the stand: Kristin Amerling, the select committee’s lead attorney, and FBI Special Agent Stephen Hart, who reviewed Bannon’s public statements about the subpoena. Amerling testified that the committee only heard from Bannon after she missed the first deadline to respond. Hart spoke about Bannon’s social media posts about the subpoena, saying Bannon’s attorney did not suggest there was flexibility in the subpoena dates.
Bannon’s attorney did not present a defense and he did not take the stand.
Outside the courthouse, Bannon publicly criticized the select committee. He dismissed it as a “show trial” after Monday’s jury selection, and strongly criticized the committee and its chairman, Rep. Benny Thompson, outside the courthouse in the days that followed, even questioning whether the recent COVID-19 diagnosis of Thompson was real.