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Ex-Trump aide Bannon found guilty of contempt of Congress

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, accompanied by his attorney M. Evan Corcoran,  right, speaks with the media as he departs the federal court in Washington, on July 22, 2022.

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, accompanied by his attorney M. Evan Corcoran, right, speaks with the media as he departs the federal court in Washington, on July 22, 2022. | Photo Credit: AP

A federal jury found Donald Trump's former aide Steve Bannon guilty of contempt of Congress on Friday for defying a subpoena to testify before lawmakers investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon, who led Mr. 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 requested documents, and was indicted on two charges of contempt of Congress.

The 12-person jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Bannon guilty of both misdemeanor charges.

Bannon, who served as Mr. Trump's strategy chief at the White House before being sacked in 2017, faces a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum sentence of a year for each count.

Sentencing was set for October.

Presenting the government's case, prosecutor Amanda Vaughn told the jury that Bannon was "not above the law" and had made a "deliberate decision" not to obey the subpoena.

Bannon's attorneys did not call any witnesses during the brief trial and he did not testify in his own defense.

Bannon's lawyer Evan Corcoran denied his client had ignored the subpoena, saying the date was "the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiation" and "flexible."

The decision to hold Bannon in contempt was politically motivated, Mr. Corcoran claimed.

Vaughn said the House committee had cause to believe Bannon and other Trump advisors may have information on links between the White House and the Capitol rioters.

According to the committee, Bannon spoke to Mr. Trump the day before thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol in an effort to block the certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory.

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They had been egged on by Mr. Trump in a fiery speech near the White House, during which he repeated his false claims of election fraud.

After refusing to testify for months, Bannon finally agreed to cooperate with the House investigation, a move prosecutors dismissed as a "last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability."


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Printable version | Sep 17, 2022 2:27:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/ex-trump-aide-bannon-found-guilty-of-contempt-of-congress/article65672667.ece