Steve Bannon found guilty of contempt of US Congress

Bannon, a longtime ally of former president Donald Trump faces a maximum sentence of two years

Steve Bannon, former presidential adviser to Donald Trump, arrives at a federal court in Washington for a verdict hearing. Bloomberg
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A US federal jury on Friday found Steve Bannon, former presidential adviser to Donald Trump, guilty of contempt of Congress.

He was convicted for defying summons to testify before politicians investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol.

Bannon, 68, was found guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress and faces a minimum of 30 days in jail and a maximum sentence of a year on each count. Sentencing was set for October 21.

The prominent right-wing media figure, who is credited with helping Mr Trump win the presidency in 2016, was the first person prosecuted on contempt of Congress charges in decades.

While Bannon faces two counts, which each also carrying a fine of up to $100,000, he’s likely to get a lesser term determined by a judge who could sentence him to serve the counts concurrently.

Twelve jurors, eight men and four women, began deliberations earlier on Friday after hearing closing arguments in which prosecutors urged them to convict Bannon for wilfully and unlawfully defying the subpoena.

His lawyers suggested Bannon was being attacked for political reasons.

Bannon had pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanour counts after defying the Democratic-led House of Representatives select committee's summons, requesting testimony and documents as part of its inquiry into the January 6, 2021 rampage by Trump supporters trying to undo the Republican's 2020 election defeat.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence to show Bannon thought he was above the law by deliberately choosing to ignore set deadlines on the subpoena.

Bannon's primary defence in the trial was that he believed the subpoena's deadline dates were flexible and subject to negotiation between his lawyer and the committee.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Updated: July 22, 2022, 7:34 PM