US judge orders ex-Trump adviser Steve Bannon to report to prison by July 1

Bannon, convicted of contempt of Congress in 2022, remains defiant as judge orders him to serve four-month sentence.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon
'There's not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up,' says Steve Bannon, a former adviser to ex-US President Donald Trump [Nathan Howard/Reuters]

A federal judge in the United States has ordered Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to ex-President Donald Trump, to report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for contempt of Congress.

US District Judge Carl Nichols’s order on Thursday came after a federal appeals court last month rejected Bannon’s bid to overturn his conviction.

Bannon was convicted of contempt in July 2022 for defying a subpoena to testify before a congressional panel that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters.

Thursday’s decision means Bannon, 70, will likely be behind bars for a critical stretch of the US presidential campaign as Trump faces Democratic President Joe Biden in what is expected to be a tight November election.

Bannon told reporters outside the courthouse that he would ask the US Supreme Court to intervene, casting his prosecution as politically motivated.

“All this is about one thing: shutting down the MAGA movement,” Bannon said, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

“There’s not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up,” he continued, adding that Trump would “win on November 5th in an amazing landslide”.

Bannon will be the second former top official from Trump’s White House to go to prison for refusing to cooperate with the congressional committee that investigated the 2021 attack on the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

Peter Navarro, a former trade adviser, began serving a four-month term in March.

Bannon, who no longer worked in the White House at the time of the Capitol attack, was part of a group of Trump advisers who sought to derail the certification of Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The congressional panel said he may have had knowledge of events planned for January 6, 2021, when a group of Trump supporters breached the Capitol in a failed bid to stop lawmakers from certifying the vote.

Trump faces two criminal indictments related to his own efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election that he lost to Biden.

The former Republican president has pleaded not guilty in both cases and said he is the target of a “witch hunt” that aims to derail his re-election bid.

Last week, Trump became the first ex-president in US history to be convicted of a crime when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying business documents related to a hush-money payment made to an adult film star.

Despite the legal cases against him, Trump retains a solid hold on the Republican Party and is expected to be formally named as the GOP’s 2024 presidential nominee at the party’s national convention in July.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies