Steve Bannon found guilty of contempt of Congress for ignoring Jan 6 committee subpoena

A federal jury found former President Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon guilty of two contempt of Congress charges for refusing to appear when subpoenaed by the January 6 House committee to testify about the events of that day.

Bannon’s trial lasted about five days, but the jury only deliberated for about three hours before delivering the guilty verdict.

He was found guilty of refusing to appear for a deposition and refusing to provide documents the committee requested.

Each count carries a minimum of 30 years in jail, with a maximum sentence of two years.

The executive privilege defense failed

Bannon tried to claim executive privilege on behalf of Trump as the reason he would not cooperate, but the jury apparently rejected this claim.

Typically, executive privilege does not apply after a president is out of office.

The Supreme Court ruled against an executive privilege claim by Trump in January, agreeing in part with an argument that “Presidents are not kings.

Just as the trial was about to get underway, Trump said he would waive executive privilege and Bannon said he would testify before the committee if he could do so publicly.

Officials skeptical

“I will waive Executive Privilege for you, which allows for you to go in and testify truthfully and fairly, as per the request of the Unselect Committee of political Thugs and Hacks, who have allowed no Due Process, no Cross-Examination, and no real Republican members or witnesses to be present or interviewed. It is a partisan Kangaroo Court,” a letter written by Trump to Bannon said.

Robert Costello, a lawyer for Bannon, wrote in a separate letter to the court that “Trump has decided that it would be in the best interests of the American people to waive executive privilege for Stephen K. Bannon, to allow Mr. Bannon to comply with the subpoena issued by your Committee. Mr. Bannon is willing to, and indeed prefers, to testify at your public hearing.”

Officials were skeptical of Bannon’s offer, however, and chose to go forward with the trial.

NBC News legal analyst Barbara McQuade exemplified this skepticism on Twitter, calling the Bannon team’s letter to the committee “a gimmick to provide a last-ditch defense in Bannon’s criminal case and poison the well in the Jan 6 investigation.”

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