Bannon sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of Congress conviction

The judge said that if Bannon filed his appeal in a timely manner, then he will suspend the prison sentence until the appeals process concludes.

Updated: October 21, 2022 - 12:42pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Ex-Trump White House political adviser Steve Bannon was sentenced Friday to six month in prison for contempt of Congress for having refused to comply with subpoenas from the Democrat-led House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot. 

The judge in the case also ordered Bannon pay a $6,500 fine, much less than the $200,000 recommended by federal prosecutors, who also said the far-right conservative operative should serve two years behind bar.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judge in explaining the sentencing said Bannon poses a "very small risk of recidivism with regard to congressional subpoenas," but there must be a deterrence for others considering committing "similar crimes," NBC News reported.

The judge also said that if Bannon filed his appeal in a timely manner, his prison sentence could be suspended until the appeals process concludes.

Bannon has 14 days to appeal his conviction, according to CNN.

"As usual, the judge listened carefully and entered a decision that he thought was appropriate," said Bannon lawyer David Schoen. "We certainly fully respect the judge's decision. But we'll be filing a notice of appeal as the judge indicated. Very grateful to the judge for thinking through the issues candidly and it is an extraordinary move to permit a stay pending appeal. It was an appropriate move."

Schoen also said he thinks the appeal will be "bulletproof."

"The constitutional issues involved in this case are very important," he said. "But Mr. Bannon never got to tell the reason for his actions with respect to the subpoena, never got to tell his story because the government insisted from day one on prohibiting any mention and any evidence or discussion to go before the jury as to why Mr. Bannon reacted as he did to the subpoena on the advice of counsel."

Bannon was found guilty in July of contempt for refused to comply with subpoenas from the Democrat-led House Jan. 6 committee – one to testify and other to submit documents related the the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

Bannon's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that they and their client were continuing to negotiate with the committee about the terms of the subpoenas.

Bannon said after the sentencing: "Today was my judgment day by the judge. And we'll have a very vigorous appeals process. I've got a great legal team, and there'll be multiple areas of appeal."

He also argued that he testified the Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between Russian and the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign and in similar congressional probes. 

Each contempt count carried a maximum sentence of one-year imprisonment. However, the sentencing range guidelines of the U.S. Probation Office was one to six months.