Steve Bannon found guilty in Jan. 6 contempt of Congress trial

Stephen K. Bannon, the right-wing podcaster and longtime confidant of former president Donald Trump, was convicted Friday of contempt of Congress for his refusal to provide documents or testimony to a House committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

Bannon, 68, is the closest person to Trump to be convicted of a crime amid the fallout from the attack on the Capitol, which occurred as lawmakers met to formally tally the 2020 presidential election result.

The contempt case involved legislative efforts to investigate the Jan. 6 violence and what led up to it, however, rather than the actual events of the day.

The trial, which lasted a week and only featured two witnesses, tested a rarely used criminal statute meant to ensure people comply with congressional subpoenas.

The verdict, after 2½ hours of jury deliberations, sent a message to other potential committee witnesses, the panel’s chair and vice chair said in a joint statement.

“The conviction of Steve Bannon is a victory for the rule of law and an important affirmation of the Select Committee’s work,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman, and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the vice chair, said. 

“Just as there must be accountability for all those responsible for the events of January 6th, anyone who obstructs our investigation into these matters should face consequences.”

As he prepared for trial, Bannon had vowed to go “medieval” on his enemies. But most of his legal arguments were rejected by the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, and the tough-talking defendant ended up calling no witnesses.

As he waited for the verdict, Bannon did not show much emotion, fiddling with a black mask on the defense table. His hand went still as “guilty” was read twice. 

Outside of the courthouse, Bannon appeared unperturbed, thanking the jury, the judge and the court workers.