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Donald Trump’s ally Steve Bannon has been sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress

Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon was sentenced Friday to four months in prison for refusing to testify in a congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
Bannon, a key figure behind Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and victory, was found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify in court about the former president’s riots.

Bannon, who was also fined A$10,298 (US$6,500), was allowed by a judge to remain free while he fights what his lawyer has promised will be a “bulletproof” appeal.

Leaving a federal court in Washington, Trump’s longtime strategist showed a demonstrative tone – lashing out at President Joe Biden and the leaders of the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives.
“The judge handed down my sentence today,” Bannon told reporters outside. “On November 8, the illegitimate Biden regime will be judged,” he promised, referring to the upcoming midterm elections.
“And we know which way it’s going,” he said. “Biden administration ends evening of November 8”.

Asked by reporters at the White House about his reaction to Bannon’s verdict, Biden scornfully replied: “I never reacted to Steve Bannon.”

“Undeniably Serious”

Early on Friday, 68-year-old Bannon was met at the courthouse by protesters who shouted “traitor, fascist!”
His prison term was less than the six months requested by the Justice Department, but more than the probation sought by Bannon’s lawyers.
Bannon claimed he refused to appear before the Capitol Hill riots inquiry after his lawyer advised him that doing so would violate Trump’s authority.

But he also said he believed the investigation was politically motivated.

Federal Judge Carl Nichols rejected those arguments, saying Trump never claimed executive privilege in the Bannon case and that the events at the Capitol warranted an investigation.
“The events of Jan. 6 were undeniably serious,” Nichols said before announcing the sentence. “Therefore, the January 6 Commission has every reason to investigate what happened that day.”
He added that Bannon had not cooperated with the committee on matters not affected by possible executive secrecy requirements.

Bannon “has not produced any documents … or given any testimony on any subject,” he said.

“Attack on the rule of law”

Despite his prison sentence, Bannon, who now runs a political commentary streaming website, could remain behind bars for the next year while he fights his appeal.
An investigation by a special House committee found that Bannon knew in advance of a plan by hardline Trump supporters to attack the Capitol to prevent the confirmation of Biden as the next president.

It also indicated that he is in favor of Congress barring Biden, who defeated Trump in the November 2020 election, from becoming head of state.

“The rioters who took over the Capitol on Jan. 6 didn’t just attack the building — they attacked the rule of law upon which this country was built and by which it lives,” the Justice Department told the court in its sentencing memo.
“In contempt of the Special Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the respondent has intensified this attack.”
Bannon served in the White House as chief strategist during the first seven months of Trump’s term, leaving reportedly due to conflicts with other senior staff.
In 2020, Bannon was charged with fraud and money laundering for personally using millions of dollars donated by donors to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

While others were found guilty in the scheme, Trump issued a full pardon to Bannon before leaving office in January 2021, leading to the dismissal of his charges.


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