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Steve Bannon, a former White House strategist and adviser to former President Donald Trump, was found guilty by a jury of criminal contempt of Congress on Friday for refusing to appear before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. .
Bannon was found guilty of two counts of criminal contempt – one for refusing to appear for a deposition before the panel and the other for refusing to produce requested documents. Each count carries a potential minimum sentence of 30 days and a maximum of one year in prison, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000.
The jury deliberated for just over two hours in federal court in Washington, DC, before reaching their verdict. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols has set October 21 as the date for Bannon’s sentencing.
Bannon did not testify during the week-long trial and his legal team did not call any witnesses.
Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Bannon thanked the jury and court, and he and one of his attorneys, David Schoen, said they plan to appeal.
His lawyers had argued that the charges against him were politically motivated and that Bannon — who was serving as an unofficial adviser to Trump at the time of the insurgency — had entered into good faith negotiations with the committee over his concerns about the testimony.
“No one ignored the subpoena,” Evan Corcoran, another attorney for Bannon, told the jury.
Prosecutors had argued that he had done just that.
“It was not optional. It wasn’t a request, and it wasn’t an invitation. It was mandatory,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Vaughn told jurors. “The defendant’s refusal to comply was deliberate. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a mistake. It was a choice. »
In October, the House voted to refer Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution after the panel unanimously recommended him. He was indicted by a federal grand jury the following month.
The select committee had sought to compel him to testify about what he knew in the days and weeks before the deadly siege.
On January 5, 2021, Bannon said on his podcast that “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
“It will move, it will be fast. It’s not a day for fantasy. It’s a day of manic focus. Focus, focus, focus. We’re just over the target, okay? This is the point of attack that we have always wanted,” he said.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., vice chair of the committee, said the comments indicated that Bannon had “substantial prior knowledge of the plans for Jan. 6 and likely would have played a significant role in formulating these plans. ”
Rioters approached within two doors of Vice President Mike Pence’s office. Find out how in this 3D explainer from Yahoo Immersive.
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