A US jury has found Steve Bannon guilty on two counts of disobeying Congress. Bannon used to work for Donald Trump as a strategist.
Bannon, who is 68 years old, was indicted last year because he wouldn’t help the congressional committee that was looking into what led up to the Capitol riot.
People say that the former chief strategist of the White House was an unofficial advisor to Mr. Trump during the uprising on January 6, 2021.
He could go to jail for up to two years and have to pay fines of up to $200,000 (£167,000).
Bannon told reporters outside of court that he would get the case overturned with an appeal that his lawyer called “bullet-proof.”
He said, “We may have lost the battle here today, but we won’t lose this war.”
His sentence will start on October 21.
Lawyers from the US Department of Justice said that Bannon thought he was “above the law” because he ignored a “mandatory” legal summons from a congressional committee looking into the 6 January break-in of the US Capitol.
During closing statements, prosecutor Molly Gaston said, “Our government only works if people show up, if people play by the rules, and if people are held accountable when they don’t.”
“The accused chose to be loyal to Donald Trump instead of following the law.”
Even though Bannon said he would “go medieval” on his enemies, his defense team stopped arguing on Thursday, without him testifying or calling any other witnesses.
Lawyers said that Bannon’s trial was an act of political retaliation.
They said that he didn’t ignore the subpoenas, but thought he was negotiating about them, and that he also thought the deadlines in the summons were not set in stone but could be changed.
In his closing remarks, Evan Corcoran, the defense attorney, told the court that the path his client took “turned out to be a mistake,” but “was not a crime.”
The jury of 12 people talked about the case for just under three hours on Friday before coming to a decision.
Bannon was a key part of former President Trump’s 2016 election win. He was in charge of Trump’s campaign and then became the White House’s chief strategist.
In August 2017, a violent far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, caused a lot of trouble for him in the political world. But the podcaster is still seen as one of Mr. Trump’s best friends.
In September 2021, a legal summons was sent to Bannon by a House of Representatives committee that was looking into the riots at the Capitol.
The panel has thought for a long time that he was helping Trump supporters try to storm Congress and question the results of the 2020 presidential election.
It is especially interested in Bannon’s conversations with Mr. Trump before the incident, as well as the “war room” meetings that were allegedly held at a nearby hotel with other important people as a last-ditch effort to stop Joe Biden’s election win from being certified.
On his podcast the day before the attack, he said, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”
But Bannon said he was innocent and refused to comply with the subpoenas. He threatened to make it a “misdemeanor from hell” for the Biden administration.
He also said that his talks with the former president were protected by executive privilege. This is a legal principle that says conversations between presidents and their advisers should not be made public so that the president can get honest advice.
But a judge said that in this case, he couldn’t use privilege.
The January 6 committee praised Friday’s verdict as “a victory for the rule of law and an important confirmation of the Select Committee’s work.”
The rest of its statement was: “Just like everyone who did something wrong on January 6 should have to answer for it, anyone who gets in the way of our investigation into what happened should have to pay. The law applies to everyone.”