Steve Bannon Is Going to Jail

A Trump-appointed judge just ordered the former White House strategist to start serving his contempt sentence.

Steve Bannon outside federal court in Washington following his October 2021 sentencing for contempt of CongressJose Luis Magana/AP

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Steve Bannon is going to jail.

US District Judge Carl Nichols—a Trump appointee in Washington, DC—ordered Bannon to start serving a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress by July 1. The ruling comes after the onetime Trump aide’s attempt to appeal his 2022 conviction was rejected by a federal circuit court. Nichols had previously allowed Bannon to remain free pending appeal.

Bannon refused in 2021 to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on Congress. Bannon, who attempted blow off the panel by asserting “executive privilege,” despite having last served in the White House in 2017, probably would have avoided imprisonment by showing up on the date the panel set his interview and specifying which questions he would refuse to answer.

Prior to the 2020 election, Bannon had touted his knowledge of Trump’s plan to contest the election results, even if he lost. As I reported in 2022, Bannon said in an October 31, 2020, meeting—accurately, it turned out—that Trump would simply declare victory on election night, using the likely appearance of an early lead to assert that his subsequent defeat was due to electoral fraud.

“What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,” said Bannon, in audio of the meeting obtained by Mother Jones. “He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.”

Once Bannon finishes his sentence, he will face another criminal trial. He has been charged in New York state court with having helped defraud donors who gave money to build a wall along the US southern border. Bannon has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Trump previously pardoned Bannon from charges in a federal case involving that same alleged scheme. The Washington Post reported in 2o22 that Bannon’s “vociferous support” for Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election helped convince Trump to pardon Bannon in the final hours of his presidency.

Federal prosecutors have also described Bannon as an unindicted “co-conspirator” in a racketeering conspiracy currently being tried in New York. In that case, Bannon’s patron and ally, Chinese mogul Guo Wengui, faces charges that he stole hundreds of millions of dollars via investment scams from Chinese-speaking supporters of a movement launched by Bannon and Guo that supposedly aimed to “take down” the Chinese Communist Party. Bannon advised Guo on the formation of the some of the investment ventures that prosecutors allege were fraudulent, but Bannon has not been charged in the case.

Bannon has attributed the various criminal charges against Guo, himself, and Trump to a broad effort by state and federal prosecutors to persecute Trump backers. “This is about shutting down the MAGA movement,” Bannon told reporters outside court Thursday after the ruling by Nichols, who once served as a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“There’s not a prison built or jail built that will ever shut me up,” Bannon said.

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