Former adviser to President Donald Trump was convicted of contempt of Congress
Stephen Bannon is guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the commission of inquiry into the January 6 assault on Capitol Hill. This is the verdict reached by the jury at the end of only three hours in the council chamber. A verdict that rains like a boulder on Donald Trump and his presidential ambitions for 2024. The former tycoon strategist, the first to fall into the narrow circle of the former US president’s loyalists, risks a minimum of 30 days in jail in a maximum of two years, plus thousands of dollars in fines.
The ruling is expected on October 21 and it is unclear how Judge Carl Nichols, appointed by the former president, intends to move. Trials like Bannon’s are indeed a rarity and no one for more than 50 years, since the Cold War, has ever ended up behind bars for contempt of Congress. Present in the courtroom at the reading of the verdict, Bannon indulged in a big, almost defiant smile. “We have lost a battle, but we will win the war,” he told him outside the court. “I’m with Trump and the constitution,” Bannon added. Beside him his lawyer David Schoen, who announces a possible appeal. The guilty verdict, beyond public safety ostentation, is a blow to Bannon first catapulted into the Oval Office by Trump then dumped by the tycoon himself and now found guilty of outrage to Congress on January 6.
Years of tensions and ups and downs that have not, however, affected relations between the two: precisely on January 5, the day before the assault on Congress, Bannon and Trump spoke by phone several times. And the former strategist – according to rumors – was at the Willard Hotel in Washington in the days before the uprising as a member of the ‘command center’ of Trump’s loyalists, working day and night to deny Joe Biden the presidency. However, Bannon has always denied any responsibility for the January 6 attack, while bragging about being the “ideological architect” of the efforts to overturn the 2020 election result. “This is not a complex case but it is important,” he said. Assistant Prosecutor Molly Gaston in her final speech before the jury. Bannon “chose loyalty to Trump rather than respect for the law,” she added. Bannon’s lawyers denied the charge and explained that their client “did not ignore” any warrant and suggested that the request to testify was not only illegitimate but also politically motivated. Words that didn’t earn Bannon innocence, at least in this first round. The game of the strategist with the expected appeal is not in fact closed yet.