Federal Criminal Cases

Bannon Contempt of Congress Indictment

Major Issue: Whether an individual who once worked for former President Trump can be convicted on criminal contempt of Congress charges for failing to produce documents or appear for a deposition before the January 6th committee examining the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Case Status: Awaiting petition for appeals court en banc review.

Case Description: On September 23, 2021, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol issued a subpoena to Steve Bannon requesting documents and deposition testimony related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack. Mr. Bannon, a private citizen, had been a policy adviser to former President Trump for approximately seven months in 2017. He declined to produce any documents by the Oct. 7th due date or appear for a deposition on Oct. 14th as required by the subpoena. On Oct. 21, 2021, the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress. On Nov. 12, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Mr. Bannon on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to produce documents and for failing to appear at a deposition required by the committee subpoena. On June 20, 2024, the D.C. Circuit denied the Bannon emergency motion.

Procedural Posture: The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. DOJ and Mr. Bannon initiated a number of pre-trial motions. The trial began on July 18, 2022. On July 22, 2022, the jury found Mr. Bannon guilty on both contempt charges. On Oct. 21, 2022, the court sentenced Mr. Bannon to four months in prison and fined him $6,500, but stayed his sentence pending appeal.  On Nov. 7, 2022, Mr. Bannon filed an appeal of his conviction with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. On May 10, 2024, the D.C. Circuit panel affirmed the Bannon conviction. On May 14, 2024, DOJ asked the District Court to lift the stay on Mr. Bannon’s sentence and order him to prison. On June 6, 2024, after a hearing, the District Court ordered Mr. Bannon to report to prison by July 1, 2024.  On June 11, 2024, he filed an emergency appeal with the D.C. Circuit.

On Nov. 12, 2021, DOJ filed the Bannon indictment with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Carl J. Nichols was assigned to Case No. 1:21-cr-670 (CJN). Both DOJ and Mr. Bannon filed numerous pre-trial motions seeking adjudication of a variety of issues. The court generally restricted the evidence admissible at trial. The trial began on July 18, and concluded on July 22, 2022, when the jury found Mr. Bannon guilty of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. On Oct. 21, 2022, the court sentenced Mr. Bannon to four months in prison and fined him $6,500, but stayed the sentence pending his appeal. After the D.C. Circuit Court rejected Mr. Bannon’s appeal and affirmed his conviction, DOJ asked the District Court, on May 14, 2024, to lift the stay on Mr. Bannon’s sentence and order him to prison. On June 6, 2024, after a hearing, Judge Nichols ordered Mr. Bannon to report to prison by July 1, 2024.

On Nov. 7, 2022, Steve Bannon appealed his conviction for contempt of Congress. A three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, with Judges Garcia, Pillard, and Walker, was assigned to Case No. 22-3086. On May 3, 2023, Mr. Bannon filed his opening appellate brief. On Nov. 9, 2023, the appellate panel heard oral argument in the Bannon case. On May 10, 2024, the D.C. Circuit panel affirmed the Bannon conviction. After the District Court ordered Mr. Bannon to report to prison by July 1st, Mr. Bannon filed an emergency appeal with the D.C. Circuit on June 11, 2024. On June 20, 2024, in a 2-1 ruling, the D.C. Circuit denied the Bannon emergency motion.

On June 21, 2024, Steve Bannon filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court for continued release from prison pending appeal. On June 26, 2024, the Department of Justice opposed the motion.  On June 28, 2024, the Supreme Court denied the Bannon motion, thereby requiring him to report to prison by July 1, 2024.