A federal jury found former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon guilty of contempt of Congress on Friday for defying a subpoena to testify before lawmakers investigating the attack on the US Capitol.
Bannon, who led Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign, was among hundreds of people called by a House of Representatives committee to testify about the storming of Congress by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.
The 68-year-old Republican strategist did not appear on the summons date or provide the requested documents, and was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress.
The 12-person jury deliberated for less than three hours before indicting Bannon on both misdemeanor charges.
Bannon, who served as Trump’s chief of strategy at the White House before being sacked in 2017, faces at least 30 days in prison and a maximum sentence of one year for each count.
Sentencing was set for October.
Presenting the government’s case, prosecutor Amanda Vaughan told the jury that Bannon was “not above the law” and had made a “deliberate decision” not to comply with the summons.
During the brief trial, Bannon’s lawyers did not call any witnesses and did not testify in his defence.
Bannon’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, denied that his client had ignored the summons, saying the date was “the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiations” and “flexible”.
Corcoran claimed that the decision to contempt Bannon was politically motivated.
Vaughan said the House committee had reason to believe that Bannon and other Trump advisers may have knowledge of links between the White House and Capitol rioters.
According to the committee, thousands of his supporters spoke to Trump the day before he stormed the Capitol in an effort to prevent certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
He was incensed by Trump in a fiery speech near the White House, during which he repeated his false claims of electoral fraud.
After months of refusing to testify, Bannon finally agreed to cooperate with the House investigation, a move prosecutors dismissed as a “last attempt to evade accountability.”
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