US urges 6-month sentence for ex-Trump adviser Bannon over contempt conviction

Bannon, an influential far-right political figure, was convicted in July on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena.

 Former US president  Donald Trump's White House chief strategist Steve Bannon attends his arraignment at the New York Criminal Courthouse in New York, US, September 8, 2022.  (photo credit: STEVEN HIRSCH/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Former US president Donald Trump's White House chief strategist Steve Bannon attends his arraignment at the New York Criminal Courthouse in New York, US, September 8, 2022.
(photo credit: STEVEN HIRSCH/POOL VIA REUTERS)

The US Justice Department on Monday asked a federal judge to sentence former President Donald Trump's adviser Steve Bannon to six months behind bars, saying he pursued a "bad faith strategy defiance and contempt" against the congressional committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

Bannon, an influential far-right political figure, was convicted in July on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena.

Each count is punishable by between 30 days to one year in prison and a fine ranging between $100 to $100,000.

He is due to be sentenced before US District Judge Carl Nichols on Friday morning.

Prosecutors told Nichols in their sentencing recommendation on Monday that Bannon's actions, including his refusal to this day to produce "a single document" to the congressional committee, led them to recommend a prison sentence at the top of the guidelines range.

 Former US president Donald Trump's White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is escorted into courtroom for arraignment, in New York, US, September 8, 2022.  (credit: REUTERS/CAITLIN OCHS) Former US president Donald Trump's White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is escorted into courtroom for arraignment, in New York, US, September 8, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/CAITLIN OCHS)

They also urged the judge to impose the maximum fine of $200,000, which they said they based on Bannon's "insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation."

"Throughout the pendency of this case, the Defendant has exploited his notoriety — through courthouse press conferences and his War Room podcast — to display to the public the source of his bad-faith refusal to comply with the committee’s subpoena: a total disregard for government processes and the law," prosecutors wrote in their filing.

"The defendant’s statements prove that his contempt was not aimed at protecting executive privilege or the Constitution, rather it was aimed at undermining the committee’s efforts to investigate an historic attack on government."