Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon must report to prison by July 1, judge says: NPR

Steve Bannon appears in court in New York in January. 12, 2023. Bannon says he will fight a judge’s ruling Thursday that he must report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for defying a House committee subpoena that investigated the insurrection at the US Capitol.

Steven Hirsch/Pool New York Post via AP

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Steven Hirsch/Pool New York Post via AP

WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, must report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for defying a House committee subpoena that investigated the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington granted the Justice Department’s request to have Bannon begin his prison sentence after a federal appeals court last month upheld his conviction for contempt of Congress.

Bannon is expected to request a stay of the judge’s order, which could delay his delivery date.

“I have excellent lawyers, and we will go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to,” Bannon told reporters outside the courthouse. He added: “There is never a prison built or a prison that is ever built to silence me.”

In a social media post Thursday, Trump accused prosecutors of being “desperate” to jail Bannon. Trump reiterated his assertion that Republicans are persecuted by a politically motivated justice system — rhetoric that intensified following last week’s conviction of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee on 34 counts during his secret trial in New York.

Nichols, the judge who ordered Bannon to report to prison, was appointed to the bench by Trump in 2018.

Bannon was convicted nearly two years ago of two counts of contempt of Congress: one for refusing to appear for a testimony before the House in January. 6 House Committee and others for refusing to provide documents relating to his involvement in Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

Nichols initially allowed him to remain free while he fought his conviction because the judge believed the case raised important legal questions. But during a hearing in federal court in Washington, Nichols said the calculus changed after the appeals court said all of Bannon’s challenges were unfounded.

“I don’t believe the original reason for my stay exists anymore,” Nichols said.

Bannon can appeal his conviction to the United States Court of Appeals for the Washington Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Prosecutor John Crabb told the judge it was “highly unlikely” that Bannon would succeed in having his conviction overturned.

Bannon’s attorney at trial argued that the former adviser did not ignore the subpoena, but was still engaged in good faith negotiations with the congressional committee when he was indicted .

The defense said Bannon acted on the advice of his then-lawyer, who told him the subpoena was invalid because the committee would not allow a Trump lawyer into the room and that Bannon could not determine what documents or testimony he could provide because Trump claimed executive privilege.

Defense attorney David Schoen told the judge it would be unfair to send Bannon to prison now because he would serve his entire sentence before exhausting his appeals. Schoen said the case raised “serious constitutional questions” that needed to be considered by the Supreme Court.

“In this country, we don’t send anyone to prison if they believe they have done something within the law,” he told reporters.

A second Trump aide, trade adviser Peter Navarro, was also found in contempt of Congress. He reported to prison in March to serve his four-month sentence.

Navarro had also argued that he could not cooperate with the committee because Trump had invoked executive privilege. But the courts rejected that argument, finding that Navarro could not prove that Trump actually invoked it.

The House January. The 6 Committee’s final report claimed that Trump criminally engaged in a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the legal results of the 2020 election and failed to act to stop his supporters from attacking the Capitol, concluding an investigation extraordinary 18-month sentence on the former president. and violent insurrection.

Bannon also faces criminal charges in New York state court, alleging he deceived donors who gave money to build a wall along the U.S. southern border. Bannon has pleaded not guilty to money laundering, conspiracy, fraud and other charges, and that trial has been postponed until at least the end of September.

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