Steve Bannon's contempt of Congress conviction upheld by appeals court

Bannon's four-month jail sentence had been on hold pending appeal.

May 10, 2024, 11:34 AM

A federal appeals court upheld the criminal conviction of ex-Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon for defying a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt in October 2022, but U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols agreed to postpone the jail term while Bannon appealed the decision.

"We conclude that none of the information sought in the trial subpoenas was relevant to the elements of the contempt offense, nor to any affirmative defense Bannon was entitled to present at trial," the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its opinion Friday.

"The judgment of conviction and sentence [is] affirmed," the judges concluded.

Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro is currently serving a four-month sentence in prison after he was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress.

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the U.S. District Courthouse for his trial for contempt of Congress, on July 19, 2022, in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee/Getty Images, FILE

Prosecutors had been seeking a six-month sentence for Bannon, though he could've faced up to two years in prison.

Bannon was also ordered to pay a $6,500 fine, much less than the $200,000 the government had been seeking.

Prosecutors blasted Bannon's reason for skipping the subpoena, writing in their sentencing request, "From the time he was initially subpoenaed, the Defendant has shown that his true reasons for total noncompliance have nothing to do with his purported respect for the Constitution, the rule of law, or executive privilege, and everything to do with his personal disdain for the members of Congress sitting on the Committee and their effort to investigate the attack on our country's peaceful transfer of power."

Bannon is facing an unrelated trial on fraud charges connected to the "We Build the Wall" online fundraising campaign, which was supposed to raise money for Trump's signature domestic project. Instead, prosecutors allege Bannon defrauded donors by falsely promising that none of the money they donated would be used to pay the salary of "We Build the Wall" president Brian Kolfage -- while Bannon secretly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Kolfage by laundering it through third-party entities.

Bannon has pleaded not guilty. The trial was scheduled for May, but has been postponed to later in the year since Judge Juan Merchan is currently overseeing the hush money trial for Bannon's former boss, Trump.

ABC News' Katherine Faulders, Alexander Mallin and Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.

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