1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Trump ally Steve Bannon sentenced to 4 months for contempt

October 21, 2022

The longtime ally of former US President Donald Trump had defied a subpoena from a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Bannon appeared in the courtroom dressed in his trademark multiple layered collared shirts
Bannon appeared in the courtroom dressed in his trademark multiple layered collared shirtsImage: Nathan Howard/AP Photo/picture alliance

A US federal judge on Friday sentenced Steve Bannon to four months in prison and ordered him to pay $6,500 (€6,640) for contempt

Donald Trump's former adviser was convicted of two counts of contempt — for refusing to testify and provide documents to the congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. 

Protesters outside the courthouse in Washington greeted Bannon, a figurehead among the US far-right, with chants saying, "Traitor!" and "Fascist!"

Former Trump aide Bannon sentenced to prison

What happened in court?

Before handing the sentence, Judge Carl Nichols asserted that the offense is subject to a minimum of one-month imprisonment.  

Bannon will not have to serve his sentence right away, as the judge allowed him to remain free pending appeal. 

The US Department of Justice had recommended Bannon be sentenced to six months in prison and fined $200,000 for his "sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress."

"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," the department told the court in its sentencing memo.

"By flouting the Select Committee's subpoena and its authority, the defendant exacerbated that assault."

The defense tried to argue that Bannon was being prosecuted for political motives.

Bannon himself did not speak during the sentencing hearing. But before walking in the courtroom he struck a defiant tone, telling reporters, "Remember, this illegitimate regime, their judgment day is on [November 8]," in reference to the coming midterm election

Why was Bannon asked to testify in the January 6 probe?

Bannon, 68, was one of the masterminds behind Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, and went on to serve as the president's chief White House strategist in 2017. 

The House committee investigating the Capitol attack had issued a subpoena for any documents related to Trump or his allies such as Rudy Giuliani, or extremist far-right groups such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

Bannon, who had been serving in an unofficial capacity at the time of the attack, tried to dodge the subpoena, claiming that he was under the protection of Trump's executive privilege.

"He chose to hide behind fabricated claims of executive privilege and advice of counsel to thumb his nose at Congress,'' said prosecutor J.P. Cooney.

"Your honor, the defendant is not above the law and that is exactly what makes this case important,'' Cooney said. "It must be made clear to the public, to the citizens, that no one is above the law."

fb/wd (AFP, AP, Reuters)