DOJ Urges Judge To Start Steve Bannon Prison Sentence

After an appeals court upheld the conviction last week, federal prosecutors requested the judge presiding over former Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress case to order the beginning of his four-month jail sentence. Attorneys for the Department of Justice asked District of Columbia Circuit Judge Carl Nichols to lift the stay on Bannon’s sentence in a request they submitted on Tuesday.

Steve Bannon
Source: cbs News

No Legal Basis

The prior pause was put in place while the appeals process was ongoing. As a panel of a federal appeals court rejected Bannon’s request on Friday to have the conviction overturned, the prosecution claimed the stay had “no longer any legal basis.”

Prosecutors stated in a document on Tuesday that there is no longer a “substantial question of law that is likely to result in a reversal or an order for a new trial.” Former presidential advisor to President Trump, Steve Bannon, was found guilty in 2022 of both neglecting to show up for a deposition that the now-dissolved House committee had requested and of withholding papers that it had subpoenaed.

In October 2022, he was given a four-month prison sentence and a $6,500 fine. Given the timing of his arguments, the D.C. Circuit’s three-judge panel affirmed the sentence after his legal team appealed the conviction.

To Postpone Jail

Judge Brad Garcia stated for the panel, “It is undeniable that Bannon brought up these arguments for the first time in district court, well after his deadline for answering the subpoena had elapsed.”

“A witness cannot raise an affirmative defence that they could have raised at the time they were ordered to produce documents or appear as a means of defending against a contempt of Congress charge,” Garcia continued.

The appeals court’s ruling was the most recent setback for Bannon and former Trump advisor Peter Navarro, who is currently incarcerated in Florida for four months after also disregarding a subpoena issued by the committee on January 6.

Additionally, Navarro was unable to have his conviction overturned after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal and the D.C. Circuit upheld a subordinate court’s conclusion that there was no “substantial question of law” raised by the appeal.

Bannon may still ask the appeals court’s entire bench to consider the issue in an attempt to postpone his jail sentence, or he may ask the U.S. Supreme Court will examine the matter.

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