WASHINGTON — For weeks, Stephen K. Bannon, a former top adviser to President Donald J. Trump, delivered heated speeches about his pending trial, promising at one point to go “medieval” on the prosecutors who had charged him with refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
But once in court, he decided to not testify or mount some other kind of defense, and on Friday, Mr. Bannon was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress.
The jury’s verdict, reached after lower than three hours of deliberations, got here at some point after video of Mr. Bannon briefly appeared in a public hearing of the House committee he had snubbed. Investigators played a clip of him saying that Mr. Trump had planned to declare victory within the 2020 election, regardless of what the outcomes were.
Mr. Bannon remained defiant in remarks outside the courthouse, saying the prosecution’s assertion that he had chosen “allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law” was correct, but omitted a vital detail.
“I stand with Trump and the Structure,” Mr. Bannon said. “I won’t ever back off that.”
Judge Carl J. Nichols set a sentencing date in late October but David I. Schoen, a lawyer for Mr. Bannon, said they’d appeal the guilty verdict.
Mr. Bannon’s conviction was the newest turn in a tumultuous political profession that through the years saw him take a number one role in bringing together right-wing media, presidential politics and America First-style populism. He helped found the web site Breitbart News, which he once described as a “platform for the alt-right,” a loosely affiliated collection of racists, misogynists and Islamophobes that rose to prominence across the time of Mr. Trump’s first campaign.
Starting in 2016, Mr. Bannon served because the campaign’s chief architect, helping Mr. Trump craft his divisive, populist message. He was brought into the White House after Mr. Trump’s victory to work as a strategist and senior counselor to the president, but lasted only seven months before returning to Breitbart.
In August 2020, Mr. Bannon was arrested on the $35 million, 150-foot yacht belonging to one in all his business associates, the fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. Federal prosecutors in Latest York accused him of defrauding donors to a personal fund-raising effort called We Construct the Wall, which was intended to bolster Mr. Trump’s signature initiative along the Mexican border.
Mr. Trump ultimately pardoned Mr. Bannon in his final hours in office.
After Mr. Trump’s defeat within the 2020 election, Mr. Bannon once more got here to his aid. He worked with Peter Navarro, a White House adviser, to plan a method to maintain the president in office that they called the “Green Bay Sweep.” The plan called for Republican members of the House and Senate to dam the counting of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021, in order that lawmakers in key swing states could decertify the vote ends in their states and hand Mr. Trump a victory.
Mr. Bannon’s conviction was the primary of a detailed aide to Mr. Trump to result from one in all the chief investigations into the Capitol attack. Mr. Navarro has also been charged with contempt after defying a subpoena from the House committee and is scheduled to go on trial in November.
Key Revelations From the Jan. 6 Hearings
Mr. Bannon, who left the White House in 2017, was indicted last November. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor, with each count punishable by a effective and a maximum of 12 months in prison. On the time, the filing of charges against him was widely seen as proof that the Justice Department could take an aggressive stance against a few of Mr. Trump’s top allies because the House seeks to develop a fuller picture of the actions of the previous president and his inner circle before and in the course of the attack.
Despite the legal wranglings that preceded his trial, Mr. Bannon’s guilt or innocence ultimately turned on a simple query: whether he had defied the House committee by flouting its subpoena. “This case will not be complicated, but it is necessary,” Molly Gaston, a federal prosecutor, said in a closing statement on Friday.
Ms. Gaston told the jury that the House committee had desired to ask Mr. Bannon about his presence on the Willard Hotel before the Capitol attack, where plans to overturn the election were discussed, and about his statement the day before the assault that “all hell” was going to interrupt loose on Jan. 6.
But, she argued, Mr. Bannon had blatantly disregarded the committee’s demands with the intention to protect his former boss.
During his own summation, M. Evan Corcoran, one in all Mr. Bannon’s lawyers, sought to argue that the subpoena his client had received had been improperly signed by the committee, adding for the jury that Mr. Bannon had not intentionally did not comply with it. Mr. Corcoran also noted, attempting to suggest a whiff of impropriety, that a prosecutor on the case and one in all the federal government’s witnesses had belonged to the identical book club.
Before court began on Friday, Mr. Bannon’s legal team made a written request to Judge Nichols to ask the jurors in the event that they had watched what the team described because the “highly inflammatory segment” of the prime-time committee hearing on Thursday that had featured Mr. Bannon. But Judge Nichols declined to poll the jurors.
Like many defendants, Mr. Bannon didn’t mount a defense case for the jury, deciding as a substitute to depend on cross-examining the prosecution’s two witnesses: a lawyer for the committee and an F.B.I. agent who had worked on the case.
Last week, the lawyers suggested that Mr. Bannon might take the stand, but ultimately he decided against testifying.
Testimony within the trial ended on Wednesday because the prosecution rested its case against Mr. Bannon, arguing that he had willfully ignored the subpoena for each records and testimony even after being warned that he could face criminal charges.
The proceeding got here all the way down to the easy indisputable fact that Mr. Bannon had “thumbed his nose” on the law, prosecutors said.
Mr. Bannon’s lawyers countered that the deadlines set by the committee to receive their client’s testimony and documents were flexible, one in all the few lines of argument Judge Nichols had left open to the defense. In pretrial rulings, Judge Nichols had said that the lawyers weren’t allowed to argue to the jury that Mr. Bannon had received legal advice to disregard the subpoena or claim that Mr. Trump had personally authorized him to achieve this.
“Mr. Bannon has a full story for why he didn’t show up — his advice of counsel, the invocation of executive privilege, questions on its validity and so forth,” Mr. Schoen, the lawyer for Mr. Bannon, argued in court this week before the trial had begun. “All of those defenses and his story of the case have been barred by the court at the federal government’s request.”
Along with his options limited, Mr. Corcoran contended in the course of the trial that the subpoena and the prosecution’s case itself were politically motivated.
Before the trial began, Mr. Bannon reversed course and offered to testify before the Jan. 6 committee. But prosecutors have portrayed that move as a last-ditch try and avoid the costs.
Judge Nichols also denied multiple requests from the defense to delay the trial, first stemming from concerns that the general public hearings held by the Jan. 6 committee and continuous news coverage of the trial would taint the jury pool and later since the defense said it was unprepared to argue its case after the constraints Judge Nichols had placed on its potential arguments.