Department of Justice

October 17, 2022

The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Monday to sentence Steve Bannon, the one-time chief strategist for former President Donald Trump, to six months in prison and a $200,000 fine for contempt of Congress.  The DOJ filed a sentencing memorandum in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, where federal prosecutors said Bannon's refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House Committee investigating Jan. 6 was a "sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress."  "[Bannon] flouted the Committee's authority and ignored the subpoena's demands," the memorandum added. "To this day the defendant has not produced a single document to the Committee or appeared for testimony." The memorandum noted the Committee repeatedly asked Bannon to produce documents and testify about his alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack. When Bannon did not do so, the Committee subpoenaed him, but he similarly refused to comply, leading to his being indicted on contempt of Congress charges.  Bannon is slated to be sentenced on Oct. 21, which NBC noted will be exactly one year after he was held in contempt. Prosecutors argued that he "deserves severe punishment" for the charges he faces, but Bannon's lawyers are set to publish their own memorandum with a sentencing recommendation later Monday, Forbes reported.  This is not the only legal issue that the former White House adviser is facing, as Bannon was also charged in New York on charges of money laundering and conspiracy. He has pleaded not guilty to those counts. 

September 13, 2022

The US Department of Justice will accept the appointment of one of the judges proposed by Donald Trump as a "special master" in the investigation of classified documents seized from the former president's Florida home last month, it said Monday.Despite pushback from the department, federal judge Aileen Cannon agreed last week to grant Trump's request to name an independent reviewer for the case, assigned to look over the hundreds of classified documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort in an FBI raid August 8.Trump is facing mounting legal pressure, with the Justice Department saying top-secret documents were "likely concealed" to obstruct an FBI probe into his potential mishandling of classified materials.He has denied all wrongdoing, saying the raid was "one of the most egregious assaults on democracy in the history of our country."On Friday, Trump's legal team and the Justice Department each submitted to Judge Cannon the names of two candidates for the role.But in a court filing earlier Monday, Trump rejected both of the government's nominations.The department said in its own court filing later Monday that it would agree to the appointment of Trump suggestion Judge Raymond Dearie, from the Eastern District of New York, in addition to its own nominees.Justice officials had originally suggested retired federal judges Barbara Jones and Thomas Griffith, and said they would accept any of the three due to their "previous federal judicial experience and engagement in relevant areas of law."The filing also noted the department "respectfully opposes the appointment of Paul Huck, Jr," the Trump team's second nominee, a federal judge from Florida, "who does not appear to have similar experience."Trump's legal team did not include the reason for rejecting Jones and Griffith in its filing, saying "it is more respectful to the candidates from either party to withhold the bases for opposition from a public, and likely to be widely circulated, pleading." It is now up to Cannon to choose whether to name 78-year-old Dearie to the case.Government attorneys previously opposed Trump's special master request all together, arguing that an independent screening for privileged material could harm national security, and was also unnecessary as a team had already completed a screening.In addition to the documents probe, Trump faces investigations in New York into his business practices, as well as legal scrutiny over his efforts to overturn results of the 2020 election, and for the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters. © Agence France-Presse

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