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Appeals court upholds Steve Bannon’s conviction for defying Jan. 6 probe

Appeals court upholds Steve Bannon’s conviction for defying Jan. 6 probe
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“Because we have no basis to depart from that binding precedent, and because none of Bannon’s other challenges to his convictions have merit, we affirm [the conviction],” the panel ruled in a 20-page opinion.

The judges on the panel included Barack Obama appointee Cornelia Pillard, Trump appointee Justin Walker and Joe Biden appointee Bradley Garcia.

Bannon’s lawyer, David Schoen, said the longtime Trump adviser intends to ask for a review by the full 11-member bench of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, known as an “en banc” review. If the court declines to take it up, Bannon may then petition the Supreme Court.

“Today’s decision is wrong as a matter of law and it reflects a very dangerous view of the threshold for criminal liability for any defendant in our country and for future political abuses of the congressional hearing process,” Schoen said.

Schoen noted that the appeals court has an opportunity to overturn the 1950s-era precedent at the heart of the case against Bannon. That case, arising from an alleged mobster’s refusal to testify at a congressional hearing on organized crime, set a standard that a person who “willfully” refuses to appear when summoned by lawmakers can be punished by contempt, even if a lawyer advised them not to show up, or they intended to claim a privilege.

Friday’s decision comes after federal courts — including the Supreme Court — rejected a similar bid by former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro to stave off his own four-month sentence for defying the Jan. 6 committee. Navarro is currently serving his own four-month sentence in Miami.

Bannon and Navarro worked together on a strategy they dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep,” a plan to organize objections by members of Congress to electoral votes from states Biden won in 2020, delaying the process and buying time for GOP state legislatures to step in and appoint pro-Trump electors.

Both Bannon and Navarro refused to appear for depositions or provide documents to the Jan. 6 committee, even though the panel intended to inquire about a wide range of subjects that extended far beyond topics that might be covered by the confidentiality of their discussions with Trump while he was president. Though both claimed they were protected by immunity and executive privilege, the judges in their cases each rejected that argument, citing longstanding legal precedents that forbid “willful” defiance of a congressional subpoena no matter the excuse.



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