Appeals Court Rejects Last-Ditch Attempt By Steve Bannon To Keep Himself Out Of Prison

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A two-judge majority of a three-judge panel on the federal court of appeals in Washington, D.C., has rejected an attempt by Trump ally Steve Bannon to stay out of prison.

He was given a deadline of July 1 to turn himself over to authorities for the purpose of fulfilling a four-month sentence on contempt of Congress charges stemming from a refusal to cooperate with the House committee that investigated the Capitol riot and circumstances surrounding it. Bannon received that sentence some time ago, but it was delayed as some appeals moved forward. He eventually lost that delay after an appeals court upheld his conviction.

As the two-judge majority discussed it, a central issue in whether to grant Bannon’s request for release pending further appeals was the seriousness of his legal arguments against his conviction. And they said it just didn’t work.

“Bannon’s proposal—that to prove willful default the government must establish that the witness knew that his conduct was unlawful—cannot be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s approach to the statute. If an assertion of good-faith reliance on advice of counsel excused a witness’s wholesale noncompliance, even as it is plainly unavailable to a more cooperative witness who appears but refuses to answer certain questions, Congress’s power of inquiry would be “nulli[fied],”” wrote the judges.

Bannon, if he heads to prison, would be the second Trump ally to be imprisoned on a contempt conviction connected to that House panel’s work. The first was former Trump White House official Peter Navarro.

Reporting from CNN said that Bannon was on his way to a prison facility a step above so-called “club fed” detention centers because of his additional legal trouble in New York City, where he’s facing criminal accusations connected to his involvement in a crowdfunding effort that sought donations for the long discussed border wall between the United States and Mexico.