DOJ urges judge to start Steve Bannon prison sentence

Federal prosecutors asked the judge overseeing one-time Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s contempt of Congress case to order the start of his four-month prison sentence after an appeals court upheld the conviction last week.

Lawyers with the Department of Justice filed a request Tuesday to District of Columbia Circuit Judge Carl Nichols, urging him to lift the stay on Bannon’s sentence.

The pause was previously imposed while the appeals process played out. With a federal appeals court panel denying Bannon’s bid to toss the conviction Friday, prosecutors argued there is “no longer any legal basis” for the stay.

“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,'” prosecutors wrote in a Tuesday filing.

The Hill reached out to Bannon’s counsel for comment.

“I’m shocked they want to silence the voice of MAGA,” Bannon told ABC News in response to the filing.

Bannon, who served as former President Trump’s 2016 campaign adviser, was convicted in 2022 for both failing to appear for a deposition ordered by the now-disbanded Jan. 6 House committee, as well as refusing to turn over documents it subpoenaed. He was sentenced in October 2022 to four months in prison and ordered to pay a $6,500 fine.

His legal team appealed the conviction with a three-judge panel with D.C. Circuit, which upheld the sentence given the timing of his arguments.

“It is undisputed that the first time Bannon raised these arguments was in district court, long after his deadline for responding to the subpoena had passed,” Judge Brad Garcia wrote for the panel.

“A witness cannot defend against a contempt of Congress charge based on an affirmative defense that they were able, but failed, to raise at the time they were ordered to produce documents or appear,” Garcia added.

The appeals decision was the latest blow to Bannon and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro, who is serving a four-month prison sentence in Florida for also failing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee.

Navarro also was unsuccessful in dropping his conviction after the Supreme Court declined to intervene and the D.C. Circuit affirmed a lower court’s finding that the appeal did not raise a “substantial question of law.”

Bannon can still request the full bench of the appeals court to review the case in an effort or delay his prison term, or he can request the U.S. Supreme Court review the case.

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