Politics

Justice recommends 6-month jail term, maximum fine for contemptuous and contemptible Bannon

J.P. Cooney and Amanda Vaughn, the Justice Department lawyers, revealed in their memo that Bannon’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, had tried to get one of the select committee’s stop investigators, Tim Heaphy, to work with him to get the contempt case dismissed with a last-minute cooperation deal. The FBI interviewed Heaphy on October 7, and Heaphy recalled their phone conversation. He had taken notes during the call, as well as having another committee staffer join as a potential witness. Heaphy told the FBI that “the overall ‘vibe’ of his conversation” was an “attempt to solicit the Select Committee’s assistance in their effort to delay Bannon’s criminal trial and obtain a dismissal of the Contempt of Congress charges pending against him.”

The prosecutors also argue that Bannon has clearly continued to use his podcast and his courthouse appearances to attack the Jan. 6 investigation. “Throughout the pendency of this case, the Defendant has exploited his notoriety—through courthouse press conferences and his War Room podcast—to display to the public the source of his bad-faith refusal to comply with the Committee’s subpoena: a total disregard for government processes and the law,” Justice Department lawyers wrote.

“Through his public platforms, the Defendant has used hyperbolic and sometimes violent rhetoric to disparage the Committee’s investigation, personally attack the Committee’s members, and ridicule the criminal justice system,” prosecutors wrote. “The Defendant’s statements prove that his contempt was not aimed at protecting executive privilege or the Constitution, rather it was aimed at undermining the Committee’s efforts to investigate an historic attack on government.”

“The rioters who overran the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building—they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endure,” prosecutors wrote in the memo. “By flouting the select committee’s subpoena and its authority, the defendant exacerbated that assault. To this day, he continues to unlawfully withhold documents and testimony that stand to help the committee’s authorized investigation to get to the bottom of what led to January 6 and ascertain what steps must be taken to ensure that it never happens again. That cannot be tolerated.”

Because of all this, they argue, the minimum sentence of one month is “insufficient to account for, punish, and deter his criminal offenses.”

The select committee’s subpoena demanded documents and communications in 17 areas related to the Jan. 6 attack, from his communications with Trump and with the team of lawyers trying to litigate the election, to communication with the violent extremist groups before the Capitol riot.

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