Prosecutors ask judge to jail former Trump aide Steve Bannon after he loses appeal

Former US President Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon, who stands accused of fraud over funds raised to support the construction of US-Mexico border wall, attends a hearing in Manhattan, New York on January 12, 2023.

Fatih Aktas | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday asked a judge to order former Trump White House aide Steven Bannon to begin serving his four-month jail sentence for contempt of Congress, citing a recent appeals court decision upholding his conviction.

If the motion is granted, Bannon soon could be required to report to jail and serve his sentence for refusing to comply with subpoenas from a House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“The United States of America requests that the Court lift the stay of defendant’s sentence because there is no legal basis for the stay under” the law, prosecutors wrote in the filing in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

Bannon’s lawyer, David Schoen, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the motion.

Bannon was convicted of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress in July 2022.

Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed to the district court by former President Donald Trump, later sentenced Bannon to four months in jail but allowed him to remain free pending appeal.

In issuing that decision, Nichols wrote that Bannon’s appeal “raises a substantial question of law that is likely to result in a reversal or an order for a new trial.”

But on Friday, a three-judge panel on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed with Nichols’ assessment, and upheld Bannon’s conviction in a unanimous ruling.

The panel rejected arguments by Bannon’s lawyer that he was not guilty of contempt because his attorney had advised him not to comply with the House subpoena. The Jan. 6 select committee demanded his testimony and documents related to the Capitol attack, which was perpetrated by a mob of Trump’s supporters.

After that ruling, Bannon’s lawyer Schoen said that he would ask for the appeal to be reheard by a panel made up of all the judges on the D.C. Circuit appeals court.

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In Tuesday’s court filing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. told Nichols that because Bannon’s appeal was rejected “on all grounds … consequently, there is no longer a ‘substantial question of law that is likely to result in a reversal or an order for a new trial.’ “

“Under these circumstances … the stay of the sentence must be lifted,” prosecutors wrote.

In a footnote, prosecutors wrote that a federal district court in D.C. and the appeals court rejected a similar request by another former Trump aide, Peter Navarro, to stay a four-month jail sentence for contempt of Congress.

Navarro is currently serving his sentence in a minimum security federal prison in Miami.

In April, Allen Weisselberg, the former longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, was sentenced to five months in jail after he pleaded guilty to perjury in testimony he gave in Trump’s civil business fraud case in New York state court.

Weisselberg is currently serving his sentence at Riker’s Island in New York City.