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Appeals court expected to review Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress conviction

Washington — Lawyers for former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and federal prosecutors are expected to appear in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Thursday for oral arguments on whether the conviction of Bannon by a jury last year should be overturned.

The political strategist was found guilty in July 2022 of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Judge Carl Nichols then sentenced Bannon to 4 months in prison but agreed to suspend the sentence — which also included $6,500 in financial penalties — as he appealed the conviction due to what the judge called unresolved constitutional issues.

Bannon, a private citizen at the time of the January 6 committee proceedings, was accused after rejecting requests that he sit for a deposition and turn over relevant records to the Congressional investigation. Congressional investigators have looked into Bannon’s work in more than a dozen key areas, from his communications with former President Trump to his knowledge of coordination between far-right groups during the assault on the US Capitol.

During the trial, prosecutors told the jury that Bannon believed he was “above the law” and was “thumbing his nose” at Congress’ demands. Bannon himself did not testify and his legal team did not call any witnesses.

The Trump ally argued at the time of his refusal that he could not testify due to executive privilege issues raised by the former president, adding that his lawyer advised him not to comply with the subpoena to appear because of these problems.

The judge said binding legal precedent barred Bannon from telling the jury that he had refused the committee’s requests on the advice of his attorney. Prosecutors successfully argued that this had no bearing on his legal defense.

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