Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison on Friday for refusing to testify in the Congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.
One of the masterminds behind the 2016 presidential campaign and Trump’s victory, Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas to testify about the riots of the United States. supporters of the former president.
Bannon, who was also fined $6,500, was allowed by the judge to remain free while he fought what his attorney vowed would be a “bulletproof” appeal.
The longtime Trump strategist took on a defiant tone as he left federal court in Washington – lashed out at President Joe Biden and the Democratic leaders in the House.
“Today is my judgment day before the judge,” Bannon told reporters outside. “On November 8, there will be a verdict on the illegitimate Biden regime,” he announced – in reference to the upcoming midterm elections.
“And we know that path is going,” he said. “The Biden administration ends on the evening of November 8.”
Bannon had been greeted earlier on arrival at the court by protesters shouting “Traitor” to the Fascist! “
His prison sentence was less than the six months required by the Justice Department, but more than the suspended sentence Bannon’s lawyers had requested.
Bannon has argued that he refused to appear before the Capitol riot panel on advice from his attorney that doing so would violate Trump’s executive prerogatives.
But he also said he felt that the investigation was politically oriented.
Federal Judge Carl Nichols dismissed those arguments, saying Trump had never asserted executive privilege in the Bannon case and that the events on Capitol Hill should be investigated.
“The events that occurred on January 6 were undeniably serious,” Nichols said before sentencing.
“The January 6 committee therefore has every reason to investigate what happened that day.”
In addition, he said, Bannon failed to cooperate with the committee on matters not related to the claims of executive privilege.
Bannon “has not produced a single document … and has not provided any testimony on any subject,” he said.
‘Attacking the rule of law’
Despite the prison sentence, Bannon, who now runs an online political commentary website, may still be out of prison next year while fighting his appeal.
An investigation by a House special committee found that Bannon knew in advance of a plan by hardline Trump supporters to attack the Capitol to prevent Biden from being confirmed as the next president.
It also shows him campaigning for Congress to block Biden – who defeated Trump in the November 2020 election – from becoming president.
“The rioters that overran the Capitol on January 6 didn’t just attack a building – they attacked the rule of law on which this country was built and through which it suffered,” the Justice Department told the court. in his sentence.
“By ignoring the Select Committee’s subpoena and its jurisdiction, defendant aggravated that assault.”
Bannon served at the White House for the first seven months of Trump’s tenure as chief strategist, reportedly leaving due to conflicts with other top staffers.
In 2020, Bannon was charged with electronic fraud and money laundering for taking millions of dollars for personal use that donors had contributed to building a wall on the border with Mexico.
While others were found guilty in the scheme, Trump issued a pardon to Bannon before leaving office in January 2021, leading to the dismissal of the charges against him.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from the syndication feed.)