Appeals Court Upholds Steve Bannon's Contempt Of Congress Conviction

Steve Bannon Attends Court Hearing In New York For Fundraising Fraud Charges

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The criminal contempt of Congress conviction of Steve Bannon, former advisor to President Trump, was upheld by a federal appeals court on Friday (May 10). Bannon was convicted for refusing to testify and provide documents to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon's defense argued that he did not need to comply with the subpoenas because executive privilege allows a president to keep conversations with close advisors confidential. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected this argument, stating that accepting Bannon's 'good faith' reliance on his attorney's advice would make it 'exceedingly difficult' to prosecute contempt of Congress charges.

The court also noted that many of the topics covered by the subpoena were 'not even arguably subject to executive privilege' as they involved Bannon's communications with other private citizens. The court found that Bannon could not rely on a letter from former President Trump's attorney claiming potential executive privilege. Instead, Bannon should have appeared for his deposition and asserted executive privilege when discussing sensitive topics.

Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress in 2022 and was sentenced to four months in prison. The judge overseeing the case has allowed him to remain free while he pursues his appeal. Bannon now has a week to petition for a rehearing from the three-judge panel or ask the full D.C. Circuit to weigh in.

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