(LifeSiteNews) – Former senior Trump adviser Steve Bannon was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress by a federal court on Friday, after he failed to comply with a subpoena issued by the Democrat-led House committee investigating the events of January 6.
Bannon, who pleaded not guilty, faces between 60 days and two years in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) had charged Bannon with contempt of Congress in November, in an unusual move. The DOJ hadn’t prosecuted someone for contempt of Congress since 1983, though Congress has found several political figures, including Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS official Lois Lerner, in contempt in recent years.
DOJ prosecutor Molly Gaston told jurors in closing arguments on Friday that Bannon is “a man who didn’t show up,” according to Fox News.
“He didn’t want to recognize Congress’ authority or play by the government’s rules,” she said. “Our government only works if people show up and play by the rules and are held accountable when they do not.”
Bannon’s attorney Evan Corcoran argued, however, that “the entire foundation” of the Justice Department’s case rested on the testimony of Kristen Amerling, a Jan. 6 Committee staffer and admitted lifelong Democrat who is friends with Gaston and belonged to a book club she attended.
“She’s been doing committee work for Democrats for 20 years. She has a relationship with one of the prosecutors on the case, Mrs. Gaston. It goes back 15 years. She’s contributed her own money to Democratic causes,” Corcoran charged.
“You need to consider whether a witness has a friendship or hostility towards anybody connected with the case,” he added. “Prosecution has to be based on unbiased neutral evidence, politics can play no role, and Steve Bannon is innocent.”
Bannon’s legal team also said that the deadlines for him to appear before the Jan. 6 Committee weren’t fixed, the New York Times reported. In pretrial rulings, Judge Carl J. Nichols barred the attorneys from pursuing other arguments, including that Bannon had been given legal advice to disregard the subpoena.
“Mr. Bannon has a full story for why he didn’t show up — his advice of counsel, the invocation of executive privilege, questions about its validity and so on,” said Bannon lawyer David Schoen. “All of these defenses and his story of the case have been barred by the court at the government’s request.”
Bannon’s sentencing was set for October 21. Schoen said on Friday that the former White House strategist will appeal the decision.
Outside of the courthouse on Friday, Bannon blasted the Jan. 6 Committee as a “show trial committee” and told reporters “we’re not going to lose this war.”
“I only have one disappointment,” he said. “And that is the gutless members of that show trial committee, the J6 Committee, didn’t have the guts to come down here and testify in open court.”
In a Friday interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Bannon also vowed to “go to jail” in defense of “Trump and the Constitution,” but added that he thinks “the law is with us on a number of situations.”
“If I go to jail, I go to jail,” “I will never back off,” he said. “I support Trump and the Constitution and I’m not backing off one inch. If I go to jail, so be it.”
“We’ve got a long appeals process,” he told Carlson. “I think some of this is really going to be adjudicated, maybe even higher than the appellate courts.”