The Justice Department said on Monday that Stephen K. Bannon, a former top aide to Donald J. Trump, should spend six months in jail and pay a advantageous of $200,000 after a jury found him guilty this summer of willfully disobeying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
Mr. Bannon “pursued a bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt” from the moment he received the subpoena last 12 months looking for records and testimony about his knowledge of Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election, culminating within the violent assault on the Capitol, prosecutors said in a sentencing memo to Judge Carl J. Nichols, who’s overseeing the case.
The prosecutors noted that Mr. Bannon, who is about to be sentenced by Judge Nichols on Friday, deserved a penalty harsher than the minimum term of 1 month in jail because he had blatantly brushed off the committee’s demands after which attacked it in a series of brazen public statements.
Mr. Bannon, on the eve of his trial in Federal District Court in Washington, also tried an Eleventh-hour try to derail the criminal case by asking Congress to pressure the Justice Department to drop its charges in exchange for his belated testimony to the Jan. 6 committee.
Timothy J. Heaphy, the committee’s top investigator, told prosecutors in an interview this month that M. Evan Corcoran, certainly one of Mr. Bannon’s lawyers, sent him a text message asking to talk with him shortly before Mr. Bannon’s trial began.
Steve Bannon’s Legal Troubles
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Stephen K. Bannon, a onetime political adviser and chief strategist to former President Donald J. Trump, has faced several charges since leaving the White House in 2017. Listed here are some notable cases against him:
Federal fraud charges. In August 2020, Mr. Bannon was charged with defrauding donors who supported constructing a border wall long sought by Mr. Trump. Prosecutors said Mr. Bannon used funds raised for the development of the wall on private land to pay for private expenses. In January 2021, Mr. Trump pardoned Mr. Bannon before he may very well be delivered to trial.
Contempt of Congress. In November 2021, Mr. Bannon was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress, after his refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. In a trial the next summer, a jury found Mr. Bannon guilty of each counts. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in October.
Mr. Heaphy said he was “friendly” with Mr. Corcoran because that they had worked together as federal prosecutors in the identical office, and he anxious about responding without witnesses.
Mr. Heaphy assembled two other top lawyers from the committee to hearken to what Mr. Corcoran wanted. The Bannon lawyer proposed that the committee join a motion to dismiss the case in exchange for a pledge that Mr. Bannon produce documents that the committee had demanded under subpoena and sit for an interview — exactly what Mr. Bannon had refused to do for months.
Mr. Heaphy told Mr. Corcoran that the committee couldn’t take such a position, and that the matter was now within the hands of the Justice Department.
Even after Mr. Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress in July, prosecutors told Judge Nichols, he still didn’t disclose a single document to the committee or answer any of its questions.
“From the time he was initially subpoenaed, the defendant has shown his true reasons for total noncompliance don’t have anything to do along with his purported respect for the Structure, the rule of law or executive privilege,” prosecutors wrote, “and all the things to do along with his personal disdain for the members of Congress sitting on the committee and their effort to analyze the attack on our country’s peaceful transfer of power.”
Mr. Bannon had at first sought to defend himself by arguing that he couldn’t comply with the subpoena because Mr. Trump had asserted executive privilege over his testimony. He also tried to argue that in disobeying the committee’s demands, he had merely been following the recommendation of his lawyers.
But in pretrial rulings, Judge Nichols swept aside those arguments, leaving Mr. Bannon with little defense against the accusation that he had received a subpoena from the House committee and easily selected to disregard it.
“It wasn’t optional, it wasn’t a request, and it wasn’t an invite — it was mandatory,” a federal prosecutor said during opening statements on the trial. “The defendant decided he was above the law and didn’t need to follow the federal government’s orders like his fellow residents.”
Mr. Bannon also faces separate charges in Latest York of defrauding individuals who sought to contribute to a company that took donations for the development of a wall along the southwestern border, certainly one of Mr. Trump’s signature policy platforms.
In that case, which largely mirrored one which Mr. Bannon escaped through a presidential pardon last 12 months, the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged him with fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.