Speed Reads


Bannon found guilty in contempt trial

A jury found Steve Bannon guilty of contempt of Congress on Friday afternoon, after prosecutors accused the ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump of deciding he was "above the law" in ignoring a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, The Washington Post reports.

"This case is not complicated, but it is important," Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston said during closing arguments. "The defendant chose allegiance to Donald Trump over compliance with the law."

The jury deliberated for just over two hours on Friday. Bannon is now "the closest person to the former president convicted amid the fallout" from the Capitol riot, writes the Post. Depending on his sentencing in October, he could also be the first person in over half a century to be jailed for contempt of Congress.

Bannon defense lawyer Evan Corcoran at one point presented "a series of letters" to try and convinced jurors that the signature on Bannon's subpoena may have been forged, Politico reports.

"If you've got a doubt in your mind, you've got to give Steve Bannon the benefit," Corcoran said. The former adviser "didn't intentionally refuse to comply with anything," the lawyer added separately.

The House panel hoped to speak with Bannon because of his relationship with Trump, as well as a statement he made on his podcast on Jan. 5, 2021, in which he appeared to foreshadow the following day's events, reports The New York Times.

Both counts of contempt are punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and a maximum of one year in prison. 

Update: 3 p.m. ET, July 22: This story has been updated to reflect the guilty verdict.

Update: 3:30 p.m. ET, July 26: This story has been updated to reflect the correct maximum fine for each contempt count, per the Times.