Bannon was found guilty of two counts of contempt in July for failing to comply with subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee that demanded he turn over documents and sit for testimony. Lawyers for Bannon argued in an appeal that he was unfairly precluded from calling on key witnesses and prevented from leaning on a key defense argument during his trial.
“In the end, defendant offers little to demonstrate that the actual testimony be would elicit would have been material to the issues at trial. That falls short of his burden,” U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols wrote.
Nichols was the same judge who oversaw the trial against Bannon earlier this summer. During his trial, Bannon sought to call on members of the Jan. 6 committee and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for testimony, but Nichols blocked that.
He also prevented Bannon from deploying an advice-of-counsel defense strategy — in which Bannon’s lawyers would argue he defied the subpoena on the advice of his lawyers and should therefore be shielded from liability.
Penalties for contempt charges typically include between 30 days and one year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine per charge. Bannon was slapped with two charges, one for failing to appear for testimony and the other for refusing to produce documents. His trial was the first contempt of Congress trial since 1983, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig reported.
Bannon was reportedly smiling when the eight-man, four-woman jury handed down the guilty verdict and his lawyer, David Schoen, argued at the time that Bannon had a “bulletproof appeal.”
The Jan. 6 panel sought testimony from Bannon because he was present in meetings at the Willard Hotel “command center,” in which allies of former President Donald Trump concocted strategies to challenge the 2020 election. Panel members were interested in any knowledge he had about efforts to challenge the election.
Bannon argued that Trump’s assertion of executive privilege precluded him from testifying. He was not a member of the Trump administration during the time period in question. Shortly before his trial began, Bannon offered to deliver testimony to the committee, contending that Trump informed him via letter that he would waive his executive privilege claims.
A sentencing date has been set for Oct. 21.