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DOJ asks federal judge to sentence Steve Bannon to 6 months in prison, $200K fine

Bannon is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, exactly a year after the House held him in contempt.
Steve Bannon walking out of the court building.
Former presidential adviser Steve Bannon after a court appearance at State Supreme Court in New York City on Oct. 4.Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department asked a federal judge Monday to sentence former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to six months in prison and a fine of $200,000 for contempt of Congress.

In a 24-page sentencing memorandum filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, prosecutors described Bannon's refusal to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee as "sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress."

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol repeatedly sought documents and testimony from Bannon, but he "flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands," prosecutors said.

"To this day the Defendant has not produced a single document to the Committee or appeared for testimony," they added.

Bannon is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, exactly a year after the House held him in contempt.

The memo said Bannon, who was an adviser to former President Donald Trump, "deserves severe punishment."

"The rioters who overran the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building — they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endures. By flouting the Select Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the Defendant exacerbated that assault," it said.

In a response filed later Monday, Bannon's lawyers argued that he should get only probation. Bannon, they said, "has not been convicted of a violent crime, he has no other criminal convictions, and he has strong ties to the D.C. area." They also asked that Bannon be allowed to remain free until his lawyers are able to appeal the sentence.

A jury found Bannon guilty in July on two counts of contempt of Congress for blowing off the Jan. 6 committee. At the time, Bannon and his lawyers made it clear they planned to appeal, with attorney David Schoen describing the verdict as “round one” in a longer battle.

Bannon surrendered to federal authorities in November after he was indicted by a federal grand jury. One of the counts was for refusing to appear for a deposition, and the other was for declining to produce documents requested by the committee.

Bannon was a senior adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and then was a top aide for his first seven months in office, leaving the administration in August 2017. He provided informal advice to Trump and his team after the 2020 election and ahead of the riot on Jan. 6, 2021. The Jan. 6 committee has pointed to comments Bannon made on his podcast the day before the insurrection as an example of why he should answer questions.

Meanwhile, Bannon is also on trial in a separate case charged with defrauding donors who were giving money to build a wall at the southern U.S. border.