Justice Department seeks 6-month prison term for Steve Bannon in contempt case

The Justice Department is seeking a six-month prison term for former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon who faces sentencing this week following his conviction on contempt of Congress charges for defying a subpoena from the special House Committee investigating the Capitol attack.

Federal prosecutors also are recommending that Bannon pay a maximum fine of $200,000 for "his sustained, bad-faith."

"From the moment that the Defendant, Stephen K. Bannon, accepted service of a subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol..., he has pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt," prosecutors asserted in court documents in advance of a Friday sentencing hearing.

The House committee sought documents and testimony from the former Trump adviser, but Bannon "flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands," prosecutors said.

"Throughout the pendency of this case, the Defendant has exploited his notoriety – through courthouse press conferences and his War Room podcast – to display to the public the source of his bad-faith refusal to comply with the Committee’s subpoena: a total disregard for government processes and the law," the government's filing stated.

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"Through his public platforms, the Defendant has used hyperbolic and sometimes violent rhetoric to disparage the Committee’s investigation, personally attack the Committee’s members, and ridicule the criminal justice system."

While Bannon initially refused to comply with the panel's summons, citing a claim of executive privilege, prosecutors said Monday that the flamboyant Trump operative's actions were "aimed at undermining the Committee’s efforts to investigate an historic attack on government."

Bannon's legal troubles: From border wall fund to Jan. 6 contempt

A federal jury deliberated less than three hours in July before delivering guilty verdicts on two counts, dealing victories to the special House committee which initiated the contempt proceedings and the Justice Department’s prosecution.

The sentencing hearing is not the only front of legal trouble facing Bannon.

Last month, he pleaded not guilty in New York to state criminal charges involving an alleged fundraising scheme.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at court, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ORG XMIT: NYJM105
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at court, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) ORG XMIT: NYJM105

Bannon and the "We Build the Wall" nonprofit organization are charged with two counts of money laundering, plus felony counts of conspiracy and scheme to defraud. Bannon and the group also face a misdemeanor count of conspiracy to defraud.

“There cannot be one set of rules for everyday people and another for the wealthy and powerful – we all must play by the same rules and must obey the law,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement.

The case is expected to echo aspects of a previous federal criminal case that accused Bannon and three co-defendants of conspiring to dupe donors who contributed more than $25 million to build a security wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

In the federal case, Trump pardoned Bannon in the closing days of his White House term, ending that case against him.

Contributing: Kevin McCoy and Ella Lee

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Justice Department seeks 6-month prison term for Steve Bannon