By Shannon Longworth (Reporter), Chris Field (Senior Editor)
Steve Bannon, the onetime adviser and campaign manager for former President Donald Trump, has been found guilty of contempt of Congress following his refusal to comply with the House select committee that is investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the U.S. Capitol.
The trial began Tuesday as Bannon faced two counts of contempt for defying subpoenas from the House committee. A federal grand jury incited Bannon last last year for failing to provide testimony that the Jan. 6 committee demanded and for failure to produce documents, CNN said.
The jury began deliberating Friday and took less than three hours to reach unanimous guilty verdicts on both counts.
Bannon’s legal team made multiple attempts to delay the trial, but Judge Carl Nichols rebuffed their requests. The defense argued it would be difficult to seat an open-minded jury because of the press coverage of their client leading up to the trial. Nichols said he would find an “appropriate, fair and unbiased” jury.
“I am cognizant of current concerns about publicity and bias and whether we can seat a jury that is going to be appropriate and fair, but as I said before, I believe the appropriate course is to go through the voir dire process,” Judge Nichols said.
Defense attorneys said the trial should be delayed because Bannon has agreed to testify before the committee. Prosecutors countered by saying the crime was already committed when he made the initial refusal and made the analogy of a person who commits money fraud saying, “I always intended to pay them back.”
Bannon attempted to assert executive privilege in his refusal to testify before Congress, but the Justice Department said he had no privilege to assert.
Sentencing for the former Trump operative is set for Oct. 21. Each count carries a possible year in prison with a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail, Time reported.