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Ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon loses appeal over jail sentence meaning he’ll go to prison within days

Ex-Trump aide Steve Bannon loses appeal over jail sentence meaning he’ll go to prison within days

Former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s request to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction over defying a subpoena to testify in an investigation over the US Capitol attack has been denied by a federal appeals court.

Bannon’s bid was denied by a three-judge panel on Thursday at the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia after they came to a 2-1 ruling, in which two judges said that the former advisor’s arguments did not present a “substantial question” of law that could see his conviction reversed.

“Bannon’s proposal—that to prove willful default, the government must establish that the witness knew that his conduct was unlawful—cannot be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s approach to the statute,” Judges Cornelia Pillard and Bradley Garcia said in the order.

The third judge, Justin Walker, however, said that “Bannon should not go to prison before the Supreme Court considers his forthcoming petition,” in a two-page dissent.

The ruling on Thursday also wrote that Bannon “knew what the subpoena required yet intentionally refused to appear or to produce any of the requested documents.”

Bannon was sentenced to prison earlier this month and was ordered to report to prison on July 1 to serve a four-month sentence.

Steve Bannon appearing in court in New York in January 2023. A federal appeals court panel has rejected his bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction
Steve Bannon appearing in court in New York in January 2023. A federal appeals court panel has rejected his bid to stay out of prison while he fights his conviction (AP)

This came after a jury found him guilty in 2022 of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House Select Committee, which was investigating the January 6 riot at the US Capitol in 2021.

The former aide has managed to stay out of jail over the past few years while appealing his conviction. In May, his conviction was upheld and earlier in June, a federal judge granted prosecutors’ motion to reverse the stay on his sentence.

Bannon, who has been raging against the decision, filed an emergency motion to the appeals court in DC last week, asking to overturn a lower court’s order for him to report to prison.

He argued for more time to appeal in contempt of Congress conviction, even up to the Supreme Court if necessary, and to continue to serve as a “top advisor” to Donald Trump’s election campaign to become the next president of the United States.

“The government seeks to imprison Mr Bannon for the four-month period leading up to the November election when millions of Americans look to him for information on important campaign issues,” Bannon’s lawyer wrote.

A protester greets Bannon as he arrives at a federal courthouse in Washington DC for sentencing on June 6
A protester greets Bannon as he arrives at a federal courthouse in Washington DC for sentencing on June 6 (Getty Images)

“Yet from prison, Mr Bannon’s ability to participate in the campaign and comment on important matters of policy would be drastically curtailed, if not eliminated.”

Bannon was found in contempt of Congress in two instances – including refusing to sit for an interview with the January 6 committee and then refusing to provide documents about his efforts supporting Trump’s campaign to overturn the former president’s election loss in 2020.

“This is about shutting down the MAGA movement, shutting down grassroots conservatives, shutting down President Trump,” Bannon told reporters after a brief court appearance on 6 June. “Not only are we winning, we are going to prevail … There is nothing that can shut me up, and nothing that will shut me up.”

Bannon – still an influential voice in MAGA circles – must surrender to prison to begin a four-month sentence on July 1
Bannon – still an influential voice in MAGA circles – must surrender to prison to begin a four-month sentence on July 1 (EPA)

He is claiming he will use all legal avenues available to appeal his conviction, including taking his case to the Supreme Court.

“There’s not a prison built or jail built that will shut me up,” Bannon said earlier this month.

Bannon’s four-month prison sentence mirrors the one handed down to former Trump aide Peter Navarro, who also refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack.

The Independent has contacted Bannon’s representatives for comment.


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