Former Trump aide Steve Bannon was sentenced Friday to four months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $6,500 fine for contempt of Congress charges stemming from his defiance of a subpoena issued by the House January 6 committee.
The sentence amounts to less than the six-month prison term and $200,000 fine that the U.S. Department of Justice recommended.
“The threat of Bannon’s burn-it-all-down approach continues to drive the Republican Party’s descent into full-blown fascism.”
Carl Nichols, the Trump-appointed U.S. district court judge presiding over the case, said he would suspend the sentence if Bannon files an appeal within two weeks, a move that could allow him to avoid prison for months.
“No American is above the law, including former presidents and their advisers,” Aaron Scherb, senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, said in a statement. “Steve Bannon learned that today through a jail sentence and a fine for defying a subpoena from the January 6th Committee.”
“It is imperative that Congress have subpoena power with teeth in order to fulfill its oversight and investigatory responsibilities,” Scherb added. “If individuals could defy congressional subpoenas with impunity, our system of checks and balances would break down.”
The House January 6 panel subpoenaed Bannon and other former Trump advisers in September 2021 as part of its pursuit of documents and testimony related to the Capitol insurrection.
After Bannon refused to comply with the subpoena, the House approved a criminal contempt report in October 2021. A month later, Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress.
“Steve Bannon would rather go to jail than tell the truth,” said Madeline Peltz, deputy director of rapid response at Media Matters for America. “After being given ample opportunities to share the truth about his role in the insurrection with the American people, he refused to do so.”
“Though Bannon was held responsible for his contempt today,” Peltz added, “the threat of Bannon’s burn-it-all-down approach continues to drive the Republican Party’s descent into full-blown fascism.”
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