On Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the criminal conviction of Steve Bannon, affirming the 2022 verdict that found the former Trump strategist guilty of contempt of Congress. Bannon, now 70, was convicted for refusing to provide testimony and documents to the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol breach. After a prolonged legal battle, this decision could lead to Bannon, a popular host on the Real America’s Voice network, being jailed.

Despite the ruling, Bannon has seven days to request a rehearing from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Currently, the court has not mandated the immediate execution of his four-month prison sentence, which also carries a $6,500 fine.

U.S. Circuit Judge Brad Garcia, the court’s newest member, wrote the unanimous decision, declaring that the former top Trump political adviser “deliberately refused to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena in that he knew what the subpoena required and intentionally did not respond,” giving “no persuasive argument” for defying it. “Bannon failed to comply with the subpoena, and his failure to comply was willful,” wrote Garcia.

In the 20-page opinion, Garcia noted further that Bannon was not permitted to claim an “advice of counsel” defense, which he said should matter because he was following the advice of his counsel, he said. Garcia noted, “Our decision in Licavoli directly rejects Bannon’s challenge,” repeating that deliberate non-compliance constitutes willfulness under the law.

“In this appeal, Bannon does not dispute that he deliberately refused to comply with the Select Committee’s subpoena in that he knew what the subpoena required and intentionally did not respond; his nonresponse, in other words, was no accident,” the appeals panel noted. “Instead, Bannon challenges the contempt of Congress charges on the ground that he reasonably believed—based on advice of counsel—that he did not have to respond.”

The appeals court also rejected multiple defenses put forth by Bannon’s legal team. These included claims that the committee’s subpoena was invalid due to procedural errors related to its composition and that Bannon was acting under the advice of former President Trump’s legal team. “Trump did not communicate an intent to invoke executive privilege to the Committee, and Bannon never raised executive privilege as an affirmative defense to the contempt charges in district court,” Garcia wrote.

The committee investigating the January 6 breach sought documents and testimony from Bannon because of his comments on a January 5 podcast predicting that “all hell is going to break loose” the following day. Furthermore, Bannon had participated in discussions about efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Former Trump White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, 74, started serving his prison sentence in March after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal. Navarro had invoked executive privilege as a defense for not complying with subpoenas from the House select committee, acting on advice from Robert Costello, who previously represented Steve Bannon. Despite his claims, federal prosecutors maintained that executive privilege did not apply to their conduct as a private citizen.


Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.