When Steve Bannon was convicted on contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in prison, he was allowed to avoid prison while he appealed the verdict. This set off a wave of fear about how Donald Trump would just do the same. But there was a vast difference between the two cases, and we were just reminded of that.
The legal logic in the Bannon case was that if he were forced to go prison while appealing, he’d end up serving his entire four month sentence before the appeal came down. If the appeals court then sided with Bannon, he’d have ultimately served his entire sentence with no legal basis for it.
But convicted criminals are typically only allowed to remain out of prison while appealing the verdict when it’s a lesser crime and a shorter sentence, and even then it’s not a given. Trump adviser Peter Navarro was recently convicted on the same crime as Bannon, and given the same four month sentence. But today the judge in his case ruled that Navarro must go to prison while appealing the verdict.
Navarro will likely try to use the Bannon case as a basis for trying to get this struck down. If Bannon doesn’t have to serve his four month sentence while awaiting appeal, why does Navarro? We’ll see what the courts do. But the point here is that Bannon was only allowed to remain out of prison on appeal because it was such a short sentence on mere misdemeanor charges to begin with. Trump, who has been charged with serious felonies and is looking at a very lengthy prison sentence, is not going to be allowed to remain out of prison on appeal once he’s convicted.
This is also true for Steve Bannon’s upcoming fraud trial. If he’s convicted on those charges he’ll be sentenced to several years in prison. And in that case he won’t be allowed to remain out of prison while appealing the verdict.
The bottom line: Peter Navarro is about to report to prison. Steve Bannon is headed there as well. And so is Donald Trump. They were never going to just “get away with it all.” The confusing twists and turns of the legal system aside, Trump and his goons have been on a steady path to prison ever since Trump was booted from office.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report