Appeals court denies Steve Bannon’s bid to avoid prison

An appeals court in Washington, D.C., denied Steve Bannon’s attempt to avoid prison Thursday.

Bannon asked the federal appeals court earlier this month to delay his imminent prison sentence on contempt of Congress charges.

The court denied his request, noting that his argument “does not a warrant a departure from the general rule.” In a 2-1 decision, the judges decided a stay would not be warranted because Bannon’s argument does not bring up “a close question or one that very well could be decided the other way.”

In early June, a federal judge ordered the onetime adviser to former President Trump to report to prison by July 1 and begin serving his four-month sentence for defying a congressional subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

In its ruling Thursday, the panel said Bannon “knew what the subpoena required yet intentionally refused to appear or to produce any of the requested documents.”

The panel also pushed back on Bannon’s argument about him “willfully” refusing to do what was asked by the House committee. The judges cited the Supreme Court, which has “consistently recognized” that willful is a “word of many meanings.”

“He provides no basis to conclude that a higher court is likely to upend the established understanding of ‘willfully’ in the context of contempt of a clear duty to respond to congressional subpoenas,” the judges wrote.

Bannon was found guilty in 2022 of failing to appear for a deposition before the Jan. 6 House committee and refusing to produce documents.

Last month, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected Bannon’s appeal of his conviction, and the Department of Justice moved immediately to incarcerate him.

Bannon can now ask the full appeals court bench to review Thursday’s ruling or bring his request to the Supreme Court, which is a step his lawyers said they were willing to take, if needed.

He is one of two people charged and convicted for failing to comply with orders from the Jan. 6 committee. Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is currently serving a four-month sentence on contempt charges.

The Hill has reached out to Bannon’s lawyer for comment.

Updated at 10:33 p.m. ET

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