Federal Court Denies Steve Bannon’s Appeal On Contempt Of Congress Charges

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A federal appeals court upheld on Friday the contempt of Congress conviction against Steve Bannon, The New York Times reported.

Bannon, a former President Donald Trump advisor, was convicted in 2022 after ignoring a subpoena from the Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit unanimously rejected Bannon’s appeal, where he had argued that he relied on the advice of his legal counsel when refusing to respond to the committee, according to the NYT. (RELATED: ‘Didn’t She Vote To Send Me To Federal Prison?’: Steve Bannon Spars With Nancy Mace Over Contempt Vote)

“Effectively enforcing congressional subpoenas would be exceedingly difficult if contempt charges required showing that a failure to appear or refusal to answer questions was not just deliberate and intentional, but also done in bad faith,” the judges wrote. “Otherwise, any subpoenaed witness could decline to respond and claim they had a good-faith belief that they need not comply, regardless of how idiosyncratic or misguided that belief may be.”

“Bannon insists that ‘willfully’ should be interpreted to require bad faith and argues that his noncompliance does not qualify because his lawyer advised him not to respond to the subpoena,” the judges added. “This court, however, has squarely held that ‘willfully’ … means only that the defendant deliberately and intentionally refused to comply with a congressional subpoena, and that this exact ‘advice of counsel’ defense is no defense at all.”

The ruling makes it likely that Bannon could serve a four-month prison sentence, according to the NYT. Former Trump aide Peter Navarro began serving a four-month sentence in March after being convicted on similar charges.

Bannon also faces charges stemming from an investigation by the office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg stemming from an effort to raise funds for constructing a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, according to CNN. The trial is scheduled to start later this year, the NYT reported.

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