Federal prosecutors wanted to sentence Steve Bannon to six months in prison for contempt of Congress, according to a recommendation filed Monday. In addition to serving time, the government was seeking $200,000 in fines.
However, Judge Carl Nichols – a Trump appointee – sentenced Bannon to four months in prison Friday and fined him $6,500. The federal judge said Bannon will not have to serve the sentence until he completes an appeal of his conviction, which Bannon requested.
In a court filing earlier this week, federal prosecutors outlined their reasons for a harsher sentence:
“For persistent bad faith contempt of Congress, the defendant should be sentenced to six months in prison – the upper end of the Sentencing Guidelines range – and a $200,000 fine, in lieu of cooperating with the payment of the maximum fine. A routine pre-sentence financial investigation by the Probation Office,” they wrote. by federal prosecutors in the court filing.
During the pre-sentence investigation they said he did not fully comply with the probation office, saying Bannon “answered questions freely about his family, professional life, personal background and health”. But the defendant refused to release his financial records, insisting instead that he is willing and able to pay any fine imposed, including the maximum fine per conviction.”
The prosecutor added: “The rioters who took over the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building, they attacked the rule of law on which this country was built and endures. In defiance of the Select Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the defendant escalated that attack.”
What happened in court on Friday: Federal prosecutors reiterated these points, arguing that Bannon should be fined $200,000, which is above the $1,000-$100,000 guideline and above the statutory maximum for the two contempt charges he faces.
Federal prosecutors cited Bannon’s refusal to provide details about his finances to the probation office as a reason for facing a particularly stiff fine.
However, the judge seems skeptical, noting that Bannon did not agree that the $200,000 fine was appropriate.
Federal prosecutors continued to press, telling the judge that citizens put themselves in harm’s way all the time to comply with subpoenas, but Bannon “didn’t take such threats” and “thumbed his nose at Congress.”
Bannon was found guilty by a jury in July of contempt of Congress.
CNN’s Holmes Lybrand contributed to this post.