Steve Bannon Appeals Contempt Charges

A federal judge handed Steve Bannon a four-month prison term for defying the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. However, the judge permitted the Trump loyalist to remain free while he appealed his criminal conviction.

Disobeying a subpoena issued by a House committee looking into the Jan 6 “insurrection” led to a Steve Bannon conviction in July 2022. 

Bannon appealed the sentence for contempt of Congress.

Bannon’s lawyer claimed that the trial was a violation of his client’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights since Bannon was not given the opportunity to explain why he ignored a House subpoena. 

Bannon was served with a subpoena demanding documents and testimony. While he appeals, he is free to go about his business.

On October 5, 2021, before a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, David Schoen testified on behalf of his client that former President Donald Trump had invoked executive privilege to shield his conversations with Bannon from public scrutiny. 

Schoen also said that Bannon had trusted the advice of his lawyer, Robert Costello, who had told him that Bannon could not renounce Trump’s claims of executive privilege. 

Costello insisted that Bannon had done the right thing by trusting his advice.

Schoen argued that the trial judge erred by preventing Bannon from presenting evidence relating to executive privilege and his lawyer’s counsel, violating constitutional protections against self-incrimination and for a fair trial. This, he seemed to imply, was a bad idea.

Schoen argues that “the lower court violated Mr. Bannon’s rights under the 5th and 6th Amendments of the United States Constitution when it ordered him to be prevented from presenting his defenses to the jury in this case.”

On June 2nd, there is a response expected from the Justice Department.