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Bannon told to report to prison on contempt of Congress charges

Judge orders Trump ally to start 4-month sentence by July 1

Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Donald Trump, departs the federal courthouse in Washington on Thursday.
Steve Bannon, former adviser to President Donald Trump, departs the federal courthouse in Washington on Thursday. (Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

A federal judge on Thursday ordered Steve Bannon to self-surrender to prison by July 1 after an appellate court upheld the former Trump adviser’s conviction on contempt of Congress charges.

Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced Bannon in 2022 but had allowed him to remain out of prison pending an appeal of the case.

On Thursday, the Trump-appointed judge cited the appellate court ruling before ordering Bannon to report to start a four-month sentence for guilty verdicts on two charges he refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Bannon remained defiant in the face of prison time outside the courthouse on Thursday, saying he would go all the way to the Supreme Court if needed.

“Merrick Garland, Lisa Monaco, the entire Justice Department. They’re not going to shut up Trump. They’re not going to shut up Navarro. They’re not going to shut up Bannon and they’re certainly not going to shut up MAGA,” Bannon said.

“There’s not a prison built, or a jail built, that will ever shut me up. All victory to MAGA. We’re going to win this. We’re going to win at the Supreme Court. And more importantly, we’re going to win on November 5th,” Bannon said.

Bannon had argued in his appeal that his attorney advised him to not comply with the panel because executive privilege — which allows a president to keep secret conversations with close advisers — would apply to the congressional subpoena.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit wrote in a unanimous decision that allowing Bannon to discard the conviction because he relied on the advice of his attorney “would undermine the statute’s function,” which is meant to allow Congress to enforce its investigative powers.

Following the appellate ruling, a federal prosecutor moved to lift the 2022 order that allowed Bannon to remain free after the trial. The judge found that Bannon’s appeal raised “a substantial question of law that is likely to result in a reversal or an order for a new trial.”

Prosecutors wrote in a court filing before Thursday’s hearing that the case did not reach the bar for consideration by the full appellate court, and Bannon “has an even steeper hill to climb to obtain Supreme Court review,” with the high court only granting cert to a tiny fraction of petitions.

In court filings, an attorney for Bannon urged the court to deny the government’s motion, arguing that granting the request “would be gravely unjust and unfair” and would make pursuing any further steps in the appeals process “ineffectual.”

“The irreparable harm of an unnecessary and unlawful incarceration on a judgment which is likely to be reversed by either the en banc Court or the United States Supreme Court will have been done if the stay of sentence is removed,” the attorney wrote.

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