Prosecuted for having refused for months to cooperate with the commission of inquiry into the assault on the Capitol in January 2021, Steve Bannon, ex-adviser to Donald Trump, was found guilty of obstruction.
It took less than three hours for the jury of the federal court in Washington to render its verdict. Steve Bannon, former close adviser to Donald Trump, was found guilty this Friday, July 22, of obstructing the investigative powers of Congress, after refusing to cooperate with the commission on the assault on the Capitol.
He faces between a month and a year in prison for each count. His sentence will be determined at a later date.
Very influential adviser to the former American president, he had continued to exchange with him until the days which preceded the attack, on January 6, 2021. Exchanges, which would be likely, according to the investigators to hold information on the ties between the White House and the mob that had invaded the Capitol.
His testimony is seen as essential because it is supposed to help understand what Donald Trump was doing before and during the assault.
Another disturbing element, the day before the events, Steve Bannon had said on a podcast that “everything converges and it’s time to attack”.
Refusal to testify
It is in this context that the commission of inquiry had summoned him to testify and produce documents. Which he refused.
Although Steve Bannon was not employed by the White House at the time and was no longer an official adviser to Donald Trump, his lawyers had invoked the protection of the right of presidents to keep certain documents and discussions confidential so that he does not appear before the commission of inquiry. What had been worth to him to be indicted for “obstruction”.
It was only as his trial approached that he did an about-face, agreeing to cooperate with the parliamentarians. The prosecutors had denounced “a last minute reversal in order to avoid” a conviction and the judge in charge of the case had wished to maintain the trial.
At the opening of this last Tuesday, prosecutor Amanda Vaughn had accused Steve Bannon of believing himself “above the law”. He ‘ignored orders to comply, even after Congress rejected his pretenses, and brushed off numerous warnings that he would face prosecution if he did not comply with the subpoena as he was required to do so,” she said.
If Steve Bannon did not speak during the debates, his lawyer, Evan Corcoran, denounced political prosecution.
On January 6, 2021, thousands of supporters of Donald Trump gathered in Washington to denounce the result of the election which saw the Republican president lose, candidate for his re-election. After hearing the president invite him to “march to the Capitol”, a crowd stormed the seat of the US Congress, sending shock waves around the world.
For nearly a year, the commission of inquiry has heard more than 1,000 witnesses, including two children of the former president, and peeled 140,000 documents to shed light on the specific actions and actions of Donald Trump before, during and after. this event that shook American democracy.