Live Updates: Steve Bannon Sentenced to Four Months in Jail

Former Trump adviser Stephen Bannon appears in Manhattan Supreme Court on Oct. 4 to set a timeline for motions and possible trial dates for a corruption case.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon will be sentenced on Friday after a federal jury found him in contempt of Congress in July for defying a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack.

Federal prosecutors want Bannon sentenced to six months in jail and fined $200,000 — more severe than the minimum sentence of 30 days in jail, according to federal law. Bannon seeks probation and requests that the sentence be deferred pending his appeal.

Here are the main things you need to know about the case and the conviction:

The verdict: After nearly two days of hearing evidence and testimony, the jury returned a unanimous verdict on both contempt charges in less than three hours.

Bannon smiled as the verdict was read, looking alternately at the courtroom deputy and the foreman. Bannon’s team did not mount a defense during the trial and he did not speak. Speaking to reporters after the sentencing, his lawyer David Schoen said they planned to appeal the verdict, calling it a “bulletproof appeal”.

In a Justice Department press release touting the conviction, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Matthew Graves said “the subpoena to Stephen Bannon was not an invitation that could be rejected or ignored.”

Why Conviction Matters: It was a victory for the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 as it continues to seek the cooperation of reluctant witnesses in its landmark investigation. It was also a victory for the Justice Department, which has come under scrutiny for its approach to issues related to the Jan. 6 attack.

Bannon is one of two uncooperative Jan. 6 committee witnesses to be charged by the Justice Department with contempt of Congress so far. Trump’s White House adviser Peter Navarro was indicted by a grand jury last month for failing to comply with a committee subpoena and pleaded not guilty.

Why the committee wanted Bannon’s cooperation: In demanding his cooperation, the committee pointed to Bannon’s contacts with Trump in the run-up to the Capitol storming, his presence in the so-called war room of Trump allies at the Willard Hotel in Washington on the eve of the riot, and a prediction he made on his pre-riot podcast that “all hell” was going to “break loose”.

The role of executive privilege in the case of: When the House committee demanded his cooperation, Bannon’s attorney claimed that Trump’s stated assertions of executive privilege precluded Bannon from testifying or producing arguments — an argument the committee flatly rejected. The lawmakers noted that Bannon had not been a government official for years and emphasized their interest in topics not involving conversations with Trump.

At trial, however, Bannon’s arguments about executive privilege were not the focus – even though his attorneys found ways to draw attention to the issue. They did so despite the judge’s rulings finding it largely irrelevant, under appellate precedent, to the elements of the crime of contempt.