Steve Bannon’s Latest Bid to Remain a Free Man Fails Miserably

Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters
Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Steve Bannon’s most recent effort to avoid his looming prison sentence did not go well.

The former Donald Trump adviser’s lawyers had asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow Bannon to remain free while he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction related to his defiance of a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee. In a 2-1 vote, a panel of judges ruled that Bannon’s case “does not warrant a departure from the general rule” that defendants start serving their sentence after conviction—meaning he’s still expected to begin his four-month prison term on July 1.

Steve Bannon Still Won’t Shut Up Even as He’s Ordered to Jail

Explaining the ruling, the judges said Bannon’s request to stay out of jail while he fights his conviction up to the United States Supreme Court wasn’t compelling because it’s not likely the justices will agree with his argument. Judges Bradley Garcia, a Biden appointee, and Cornelia Pillard, an Obama appointee, wrote that Bannon has “no basis” to think the high court will be favorable to his case.

Judge Justin Walker, who was appointed by Trump, dissented. “Bannon should not go to prison before the Supreme Court considers his forthcoming petition,” he wrote.

Bannon vowed earlier this month that he would contest his conviction “all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to” after a federal judge ordered him to report to prison by July 1.

Bannon was convicted in 2022 on two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to comply with the Jan. 6 committee subpoena. His appeal is centered on a claim that he didn’t “willfully” ignore the subpoena and that he was relying on the advice of a lawyer who thought Bannon couldn’t testify or hand over documents after Trump invoked executive privilege.

His setback at the federal appeals court in D.C. now gives him little hope of staving off his jail sentence before it’s set to start. The Supreme Court also shot down a similar request earlier this year from Peter Navarro—a former Trump trade adviser—who was also handed a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress.

Navarro, like Bannon, had also said he was unable to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee after Trump invoked executive privilege, and wanted to remain free while he appealed. Chief Justice John Roberts denied Navarro’s last-ditch request to delay his sentence, seeing no reason to disagree with a lower court’s decision ordering him to prison while his appeal process unfolded.

Navarro is currently incarcerated in Miami Federal Corrections Institute and is set for release next month.

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