WASHINGTON — For weeks, President Donald J. Trump’s former top adviser, Stephen K. Bannon has given heated speeches about his pending trial, at one point vowing to go “interim” on prosecutors who accused him of refusing to comply. A subpoena issued by House Select Committee Investigation January 6 Attack on the Capitol.
But once in court, he decided not to testify or mount another defense, and on Friday, Mr. Bannon was convicted of two counts of contempt of Congress.
The jury’s verdict, reached after less than three hours of deliberations, came a day after Mr. The video came in Bannon’s brief appearance at a House committee public hearing, which he boycotted. Investigators played a clip in which he said Mr Trump planned to declare victory in the 2020 election, regardless of the outcome.
68 year old Mr. Bannon, in comments outside court, countered that the prosecution was correct in saying he chose “loyalty to Donald Trump over compliance with the law,” but omitted an important detail.
“I stand with Trump and the Constitution,” Mr. Bannon said. “I will never take that back.”
Judge Carl J. Nichols set a sentencing date for late October, but Mr. Bannon’s lawyer, David I. Schoen said he would appeal the guilty verdict.
Over the years, Mr. Bannon’s conviction was the latest twist in a turbulent political career. He helped found the website Breitbart News, which he once described as “a platform for the alt-right,” which Mr. It was a loosely aligned collection of racists, misogynists, and Islamophobes who gained prominence during Trump’s first campaign.
Starting in 2016, Mr. Bannon served as the campaign’s chief architect, Mr. Mr. After Trump’s victory, he was brought to the White House to serve as the president’s strategist and senior adviser, but only lasted seven months before returning to Breitbart.
In August 2020, A 150 foot yacht worth $35 million Mr Bannon was arrested owned by one of his business associates, Fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. Federal prosecutors in New York said Mr. He accused her of defrauding donors to We Build the Wall, a private fundraising effort aimed at bolstering Trump’s signature effort.
Finally Mr. Trump He forgave Pannon During his last term in office.
In the 2020 election, Mr. After Trump’s defeat, Mr. Bannon helped him again. He worked with White House counsel Peter Navarro to devise a strategy to keep the president in office, which they called the “Green Bay Sweep.” The plan called for Republican members of the House and Senate to block the counting of Electoral College votes on January 6, 2021, so that lawmakers in key states could check the results in their states and hand Mr. Trump a victory.
As a result of one of the major investigations into the Capitol attack, Mr. The first conviction of a close Trump aide was Mr. Bannon’s punishment. After defying the House Committee’s subpoena, Mr. Navarro has been charged with contempt and is scheduled for trial in November.
Key revelations from the January 6 hearings
After leaving the White House in 2017, Mr He was indicted last November. He remains free without bail as prosecutors have not sought a court order to remand him.
Contempt of Congress A misdemeanor, each count is punishable by a fine and a maximum of 12 months in prison. At the time, Mr. The indictments against Trump are evidence that the Justice Department can take an aggressive stance against some of Trump’s top associates. Inner circle before and after attack.
Despite the legal troubles that preceded his trial, Mr. Bannon’s guilt or innocence ultimately raised a straightforward question: whether he violated a House committee subpoena by defying it. “This case is not complicated, but it is important,” Molly Gaston, a federal prosecutor, said in a closing statement Friday.
The House Committee asked Mr. Mrs. Banan wanted to ask. Gaston told the jury, where plans to alter the election were discussed, and about his statement the day before the attack that “all hell” was going to break loose on January 6.
But, he argued, Mr. Bannon blatantly ignored the group’s demands to protect his former boss.
During his own summation, Mr. One of Bannon’s lawyers, M. Evan Corcoran sought to argue that the subpoenas obtained by his client were improperly signed by the board, and that Mr. Bannon said he did not intentionally fail to comply. It is. Mr. Corcoran tries to suggest the impossibility that a lawyer in the case and one of the government’s witnesses belong to the same book club.
Before court began on Friday, Mr. Bannon’s legal team sent a written request to Judge Nichols, asking him to ask the justices if they had seen what the group described as the “most irritating segment” of Thursday’s prime-time committee hearing. Pannon. But Judge Nichols refused to allow jurors to vote.
Like many defendants, Mr. Bannon did not present a defense case to the jury, opting instead to rely on the prosecution’s cross-examination of two witnesses: the group’s attorney and an FBI agent who worked on the case.
Last week, lawyers for Mr. They suggested Bannon might take the stand, but he ultimately decided against testifying.
Mr. Testimony in the trial ended Wednesday as the state rested its case against Bannon.
Mr. The move came down to the simple fact that Bannon “turned his nose up” at the law, prosecutors said.
Mr. Bannon’s attorneys countered that the deadline set by the panel for obtaining their client’s testimony and documents was inflexible, one of the few lines of Judge Nichols’ argument the defense was open to. In pre-trial rulings, Judge Nicholls said lawyers were not allowed to argue to the jury that Mr. Bannon, to ignore the subpoena or Mr. Trump has obtained legal counsel to say he was personally authorized to do so.
“Mr. Bannon has the whole story of why he didn’t show up — the advice of his counsel, the request for executive privilege, the questions about its validity and more,” Mr. Bannon said. Bannon’s attorney, Mr. Schoen argued in court this week. Before the trial begins. “All of these defenses and his story about the case have been barred by the court at the government’s request.”
As his options are limited, Mr. Corcoran argued during the trial that the subpoena and the prosecution’s case were politically motivated.
Before the trial began, Mr. Bannan Reverse trend and offered to testify before the committee on January 6. But prosecutors have portrayed the move as a last-ditch effort to avoid charges.
Judge Nichols denied several requests from the defense to delay the trial, first stemming from concerns that continued news coverage of the Jan. 6 committee’s public hearings and trial would taint the jury pool, and then because the defense said it was unprepared. to plead its case after Judge Nichols placed restrictions on its potential arguments.