Steve Bannon Surrenders To Prison For Contempt Sentence

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jul 01, 2024 - 09:40 PM

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times,

Steve Bannon on July 1 reported to a federal prison in Connecticut to begin a four-month sentence for a contempt-of-Congress conviction.

Mr. Bannon, 70, was sentenced in 2022 but his start date was pushed back as he appealed the conviction, arguing that he was following advice of counsel when he defied subpoenas from a U.S. House of Representatives committee.

A judge recently ordered him to report to prison on July 1, though, and attempts to overturn the order were rejected by an appeals court and the U.S. Supreme Court.

“I’m proud of going to prison today,” Mr. Bannon said outside Federal Correctional Institution Danbury.

“If this is what it takes to stand up to tyranny ... I’m proud to do it.”

Mr. Bannon, a one-time adviser to President Donald Trump, declined to cooperate with a House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. The House voted to recommend prosecution, and the U.S. Department of Justice brought contempt charges. Jurors convicted Mr. Bannon of two counts—one for not sitting for testimony and another for not providing documents the House sought.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said after he handed down the four-month sentence that Mr. Bannon in his appeal was bringing up serious issues that could result in the conviction being overturned, and said Mr. Bannon could remain free as the appeal was considered by the courts.

Mr. Bannon and his lawyers said the key question centered on the word “willfully” in federal law. The law in question bars willfully defying congressional subpoenas.

“Mr. Bannon believed his actions were in compliance with the law,” his lawyers said in a filing to the Supreme Court, highlighting how Mr. Bannon’s representatives had instructed him to not comply with the subpoenas until issues surrounding executive privilege, or privilege exerted by the president, were resolved.

A U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel in May rejected the appeal, finding that “‘willfully’ in Section 192 means only that the defendant deliberately and intentionally refused to comply with a congressional subpoena, and that this exact ‘advice of counsel’ defense is no defense at all.”

Judge Nichols said because of the ruling, a substantial question no longer remained and that Mr. Bannon must report to prison.

A last-ditch appeal to Supreme Court justices to pause that order was turned down by the court on June 28. None of the justices commented on the decision.

The case is still ongoing and could ultimately result in a ruling for Mr. Bannon, which was one reason his lawyers said justices should step in.

“If Mr. Bannon is denied release, he will be forced to serve his prison sentence before this court has a chance to consider a petition for a writ of certiorari, given the court’s upcoming summer recess,” the lawyers told the court.

Federal officials opposed the effort, saying Mr. Bannon should surrender and start his sentence in light of the appeals court ruling.

The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group voted 3–2 to lodge a filing in Mr. Bannon’s case, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has said, although the filing will not be submitted until after Mr. Bannon formally asks the full appeals court to consider his case.

The amicus brief “will be in support of neither party,” Mr. Johnson said. He said it “will withdraw certain arguments made by the House earlier in the litigation about the organization of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol during the prior Congress.”

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), chairman of the House Administration Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, told the Supreme Court in a brief that the subpoenas were flawed because the committee was not in compliance with House regulations since it did not have a ranking member appointed by the Republican minority.