Appeals Court Rules On Bannon Case

May 10, 2024

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed the criminal conviction of Steve Bannon on Friday. This decision upheld the 2022 verdict that found Bannon, a former strategist for President Trump, guilty of contempt of Congress. This case has been ongoing for several years, and Bannon, who is now 70 years old, could potentially face imprisonment soon. He was convicted because he refused to give testimony and documents to the shame House committee that was investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol.

Bannon has been given seven days to ask for another hearing before the same appeals court. As of now, the court has decided not to immediately enforce his four-month prison sentence, which also includes a fine of $6,500.

Circuit Judge Brad Garcia, the newest member of the court, wrote the decision which was agreed upon by all judges involved. Judge Garcia stated that Bannon deliberately chose not to follow the subpoena from the Select Committee. He knew what was required of him but intentionally chose not to respond. Bannon did not present a convincing reason for his refusal. According to Judge Garcia, Bannon’s actions were a clear case of willful non-compliance.

In his detailed 20-page decision, Judge Garcia also mentioned that Bannon could not use the “advice of counsel” as a defense. This defense suggested that Bannon’s actions were based on legal advice he received, which, according to Bannon, should excuse him. However, the court referred to previous cases that rejected this type of defense, affirming that knowingly not complying shows willfulness.

The appeals court also considered and rejected other arguments from Bannon’s legal team. These included claims that the subpoena from the committee was not valid due to how the committee was formed and that Bannon was just following advice from former President Trump’s legal team. The court noted that Trump did not show any intention to use executive privilege regarding the matter, and Bannon did not claim executive privilege as a defense during his trial.

The committee had sought documents and testimony from Bannon because on January 5, during a podcast, he had said, “all hell is going to break loose” the next day. Bannon had also been involved in discussions about trying to overturn the 2020 election results.

Similar to Bannon, Peter Navarro, another former Trump advisor, started his prison term in March after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal. He also claimed executive privilege as his defense for ignoring subpoenas from the House select committee. Despite his arguments, federal prosecutors stated that executive privilege did not cover Bannon’s actions since he was no longer a public official at the time.

Bannon continues to be free on bond as he considers his next steps. If his appeal fails, he will have to serve his prison sentence for not cooperating with the committee’s investigation.

The ramifications of this case are huge.



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