Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is scheduled to appear in federal court on Friday to receive his sentence after being convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to appear before the House Jan. 6 Committee.
Federal prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols to throw Mr. Bannon behind bars for six months and impose a $200,000 fine for the misdemeanor offense, a penalty at the high end of sentencing guidelines.
In a court filing earlier this week, the Justice Department argued that the “severe” sentence was warranted because Mr. Bannon followed a “bad faith strategy of defiance and contempt.”
The filing cites several statements Mr. Bannon made about the justice system and the lawmakers on the House panel.
“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,” the Justice Department said.
The House panel sought testimony from Mr. Bannon about his efforts to help overturn the 2020 election.
Mr. Bannon predicted on his podcast on the day before the Capitol riot that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
Mr. Bannon, who hosts the news and opinion broadcast “War Room: Pandemic,” insists the charges against him are politically motivated and the Democratic-controlled committee has conflicts of interest as it works to discredit Republicans and former President Donald Trump.
Mr. Bannon’s lawyers have asked the judge to sentence him to probation and delay sentencing until an appeals court hears his case.
His defense team argues that Mr. Bannon followed the advice of his lawyer Robert Costello in 2021, who advised him that he did not need to comply with the committee’s subpoena given his status as a former adviser to the president.
“Should a person who has spent a lifetime listening to experts — as a naval officer, investment banker, corporate executive, and presidential adviser — be jailed for relying on the advice of his lawyers?” they asked the court.
Mr. Bannon faces two counts of criminal contempt. Each count carries a maximum of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
• Dave Boyer contributed to this report.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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