Appeals Court Denies Steve Bannon’s Bid To Delay Prison Sentence

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A federal appeals court declined Thursday night to delay former Trump advisor Steve Bannon’s prison sentence while he challenges his conviction.

The D.C Circuit ruled 2-1 that Bannon should still report to prison for his four-month sentence for his contempt of Congress conviction, even as he appeals the conviction as high as the Supreme Court. A district court judge ordered Bannon earlier this month to report to prison by July 1.

Bannon was convicted for “willfully mak[ing] default” on a subpoena issued by the Jan. 6 select committee. The majority wrote that he provides “no basis to conclude that a higher court is likely to upend the established understanding of ‘willfully’ in the context of contempt of a clear duty to respond to congressional subpoenas.”

“Bannon’s proposal—that to prove willful default the government must establish that the witness knew that his conduct was unlawful—cannot be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s approach to the statute,” the court held. “If an assertion of good-faith reliance on advice of counsel excused a witness’s wholesale noncompliance, even as it is plainly unavailable to a more cooperative witness who appears but refuses to answer certain questions, Congress’s power of inquiry would be ‘nulli[fied].'” (RELATED: There Is Near Zero Historical Precedent For Biden DOJ Getting Steve Bannon Thrown In Jail)

Judge Justin Walker, a Trump appointee, said in his dissent that “Bannon should not go to prison before the Supreme Court considers his forthcoming petition for certiorari.” He wrote that the proper interpretation of “willfully” may well be a “close question.”

“That close question may well have mattered at Bannon’s trial,” he wrote.

Bannon’s sentence is expected to be served at a prison in Danbury, Connecticut, rather than a minimum-security prison camp, according to CNN. The Danbury facility has housed violent offenders among the male population.

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