Jury convicts Steve Bannon of contempt of Congress

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress on Friday after a jury trial in Washington, D.C.

In total, the jury took less than three hours to deliberate.

A federal grand jury indicted Bannon on both misdemeanor charges in November of last year, after rejecting subpoenas and Jan. 6 congressional committee filings, citing executive privilege even though it had been years since he had not worked in the White House. The House of Representatives had voted to despise him the previous month.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols has set Bannon’s sentencing hearing for October 21, according to multiple courtroom reports. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in prison, as well as fines of $100 to $100,000. Bannon will likely appeal the verdict.

Bannon had previously been charged with a separate alleged crime — defrauding donors to the private WeBuildTheWall border wall building effort — but received a last-minute pardon from Donald Trump two weeks after the Capitol attack. (Other defendants in the scheme were not so lucky.)

Bannon pleaded not guilty to the contempt charges. Nichols rejected his efforts to have the charges dropped last month. Another attempt by Bannon to postpone his trial – citing the January 6 Committee members’ “inflammatory remarks” – also failed. The former Trump aide even indicated a few days ago that he has been, in fact, willing to testify before the committee. Prosecutors scoffed, calling the move “a last ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”

In the end, despite originally promising to turn the case into a “misdemeanor hellish” affair for prosecutors – and having used the charges for weeks to fuel his right-wing media ventures – Bannon has finally decided to remain silent in court.

“We’re not going to present a defense,” David Schoen, one of Bannon’s attorneys, said in court Thursday. Prosecutors were equally blunt.

“This case is not complicated but it is important,” said Assistant United States Attorney Molly Gaston. said during oral arguments on Friday.

“Ultimately, he didn’t want to recognize the authority of Congress or abide by the rules of government.”

Members of Congress have filed criminal charges against other Trump aides who also dodged subpoenas – namely chief of staff Mark Meadows, social media director Dan Scavino, trade adviser Peter Navarro.

The Justice Department chose not to charge Meadows and Scavino. Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt by a federal grand jury last month, to which he pleaded not guilty.

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