HomeTop StoriesThe appeals court rejects Bannon's bid to avoid the July 1 prison...

The appeals court rejects Bannon’s bid to avoid the July 1 prison sentence

A federal appeals court rejected a last-minute bid Steve Bannona long time Donald Trump consultant and prominent conservative podcaster, to avoid a four-month prison sentence for defying a January 6 select committee subpoena three years ago.

A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 Thursday evening that Bannon’s bid to stay out of jail while he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction to the Supreme Court was justified because it it is unlikely that the judges will take his argument seriously. .

Justices Patricia Millett, an Obama appointee, and Bradley Garcia, a Biden appointee, ruled that Bannon had “no basis” to believe the Supreme Court would hear his case, given the longstanding precedents upon which the justices relied in similar trusted things.

However, Judge Justin Walker, a Trump appointee, broke with his colleagues and suggested Bannon’s argument could pique the justices’ interest.

“Bannon should not go to prison until the Supreme Court considers his upcoming petition,” Walker wrote in a two-page dissent.

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Bannon is now expected to turn to the Supreme Court in a last-ditch effort to avoid his prison sentence.

The Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Bannon in October 2021, seeking details about his interactions with Trump in the weeks before a mob stormed the Capitol to block the transition of power from Trump to Joe Biden. Bannon had spoken publicly about ways members of Congress could challenge the 2020 election results, and the committee obtained evidence about Bannon’s numerous phone calls to Trump in the days and weeks before the Jan. 6 attack.

Bannon’s blanket refusal to respond to the subpoena prompted the committee — and ultimately the House of Representatives — to hold him in contempt. The Justice Department indicted him several weeks later, and in July 2022, a jury convicted Bannon of two felonies. However, Bannon has remained at large for the past two years while he appealed his conviction, a decision by his judge Carl Nichols, who agreed that Bannon may have had a legitimate argument to challenge his prosecution.

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At issue is the wording of the 19th century “contempt of Congress” law that a jury convicted Bannon of violating, which requires offenders to “willfully” refuse to cooperate with Congress.

Bannon has claimed that his decision to defy the Jan. 6 commission was the result of advice from an attorney who told him he was under no obligation to comply. Relying on his attorney’s advice, Bannon’s team argued, means his decision was not “intentional.” But the federal appeals court in D.C. has long held that “intentional” simply means making an informed decision not to cooperate, regardless of the reason.

As a result, Nichols – a Trump appointee – rejected Bannon’s attempt to scuttle the case. At Bannon’s sentencing in October 2022, Nichols also agreed to release him during his appeal, noting that higher courts might see the merits of his arguments.

But Nichols changed course earlier this month after a unanimous D.C. Circuit panel decisively rejected Bannon’s appeal. Citing the strength of the new ruling, as well as a similar ruling in a related contempt of Congress case, Nichols revoked Bannon’s release and ordered him to report to jail by July 1.

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Another former Trump adviser, Peter Navarro, was also convicted of contempt for defying the Jan. 6 committee and sentenced to four months in prison. His lawyers went all the way to the Supreme Court to try to delay the verdict until after his appeal was completed, but the requests were denied by Chief Justice John Roberts and later by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Navarro reported to a federal prison in Miami in March and will be released next month.

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