This coming Friday, Steve Bannon will be sentenced for his conviction of contempt of Congress.
On January 5th, 2021, Steve Bannon promised that “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow… ” which, in hindsight, nearly proves that Bannon knew that things would get violent. There were very few witnesses that the Committee needed to depose more urgently than Bannon. But, instead of showing up and pleading the Fifth or asserting some bizarre privilege, Bannon acted as if his proximity to Trump gave him some kind of transcendent “very close to Trump” privilege, vitiating all duties as a normal citizen, and refused. In the end, things worked as they should, and a jury needed less than three hours to find him guilty of contempt. Now, DOJ wants the court to slap a six-month sentence for his “sustained bad faith contempt.” The Justice Department wants to send a message. They’re tired of the lawless MAGA movement:
NEW: DOJ wants six months in prison for Steve Bannon.
“For his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress,
the Defendant should be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment—the top end of the Sentencing
Guidelines’ range—and fined $200,000…”
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) October 17, 2022
There is a natural tendency for people who don’t work in the legal system to say, “That’s it?” But a six-month sentence on two misdemeanors is a very stiff sentence. Moreover, there is an interesting dynamic here in that, normally, DOJ makes its sentencing recommendation, the defense argues for a far more lenient sentence, and the judge often comes in somewhere in between, usually closer to DOJ’s recommendation. But there is very little precedent in these types of crimes. Contempt of Congress is rarely prosecuted. There are guidelines as to the proper sentence, but there are aggravating circumstances that are hard to quantify. It is possible that this could be one of those rare instances when a judge goes above even the Justice Department’s recommendation. A judge could find Bannon’s behavior to be more dangerous, more sinister, and more culpable than even the prosecutors appreciate and slap on nine months.
We will find out on Friday when Bannon will almost surely begin his sentence. Bannon will likely ask for a week or two to present himself to the jail, but the judge may refuse and have him just sent down the “back hall” from the courtroom. It will be worth watching.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.