Bannon Indicted on Contempt Charges Over House Investigation of Capitol Riot
Stephen K. Bannon, a former top aide to Donald Trump, had refused to comply with subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on Congress.,
Stephen K. Bannon, one of former President Donald J. Trump’s top aides early in his presidency, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday on two counts of contempt of Congress, the Justice Department said.
Mr. Bannon, 67, had refused last month to comply with subpoenas for information issued by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The House voted last month to hold Mr. Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to testify or provide documents sought by the committee, a position taken by a number of former aides to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump had directed his former aides and advisers to invoke immunity and refrain from turning over documents that might be protected under executive privilege.
The House action referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., for a decision on whether to prosecute him, leaving the politically and legally complex matter in the hands of the Justice Department.
“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said in a statement.
“Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles,” Mr. Garland said.
One contempt count is related to Mr. Bannon’s refusal to appear for a deposition and the other is for his refusal to produce documents for the committee.
An arraignment date has not been set.
The committee issued subpoenas in September to Mr. Bannon and several others who had ties to the Trump White House, and it has since issued scores of subpoenas to other allies of the former president.
The committee said it had reason to believe that Mr. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist and counselor, could help investigators better understand the Jan. 6 attack, which was meant to stop the certification of President Biden’s victory.
While many of those who received subpoenas have sought to work to some degree with the committee, Mr. Bannon claimed that his conversations with Mr. Trump were covered by executive privilege, even though he has been a private citizen since 2017. He said he would not comply with the committee’s requests.
Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of $100 to $1,000.