HomePoliticsAppeals court upholds Steve Bannon's contempt of Congress conviction

Appeals court upholds Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress conviction

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court panel on Friday upheld the criminal conviction of Donald Trump‘s longtime ally Steve Bannon for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected Bannon’s challenges to his contempt of Congress conviction, for which he was sentenced to four months in prison in 2022. The judge overseeing the case has allowed him to remain free while he continues his appeal.

Bannon’s attorneys did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. His lawyers could ask the full D.C. appeals court to hear the case.

Bannon was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress: one for refusing to sit for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents related to his involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election .

Bannon had initially argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege. But the House panel and the Justice Department found such a claim questionable because Trump fired Bannon from the White House in 2017, making Bannon a private citizen when he the then president consulted.

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Bannon’s lawyers argued during the trial that he did not act in bad faith but was trying to avoid running afoul of executive objections raised by Trump. The former presidential adviser said he wanted a Trump lawyer in the room for his appearance, but the committee did not allow that.

Bannon’s lawyers told the appeals court that the conviction should be overturned, in part because they said the commission’s subpoena was invalid. Bannon also argued that the judge overseeing the trial improperly quashed subpoenas requesting testimony and documents from the committee’s own members, staffers and counsel that his lawyers said could have bolstered his defense.

The appeals court ruled that all his challenges were unfounded.

“We conclude that none of the information requested in the subpoenas was relevant to the elements of the contempt offense nor to any affirmative defense that Bannon was permitted to raise at trial,” the judges wrote.

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A second Trump aide, trade adviser Peter Navarro, was also convicted of contempt of Congress and sent to prison in March to begin serving his four-month sentence. Navarro has maintained that he could not work with the committee because Trump had invoked executive privilege. But courts have rejected that argument, finding that Navarro could not prove that Trump actually invoked it.

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