This week, career criminal Steve Bannon will be sentenced in federal court for the pair of contempt of Congress charges he was convicted on earlier this year. Due to the staggered manner in which criminal charges have been brought against Bannon at various levels of government, Bannon’s prison sentence for contempt is likely to be rather short. This is likely to set off widespread confusion, and a fair amount of mistaken “they’re getting away with it all” sentiment. So let’s make sure we’re all caught up on what’s actually happening to Bannon.
Bannon’s sentencing this week will be solely for the contempt charges. Bannon could realistically get anything from a month to two years in prison. This particular crime gives a lot of latitude to the judge on sentencing, and the judge will have to decide whether or not to take Bannon’s prior pardoned charges into account, along with Bannon’s ongoing inappropriate public remarks about his trial.
But whatever prison sentence Bannon ends up with this week, it’ll be just the half of it. Actually it’ll be a lot less than half of it, because contempt is the least severe charge that Bannon is facing. Bannon is separately set to stand trial next month on New York state-level charges of fraud – and if he’s convicted, that’ll likely come with a far longer prison sentence than whatever he ends up getting this week for contempt.
In addition, we’re still waiting to see if the DOJ ends up bringing additional January 6th related charges against Steve Bannon, which would also likely come with a more severe prison sentence than the current contempt charge.
But when Bannon is sentenced this week, the thing to keep in mind is that contempt of Congress is considered a fairly minor crime, which is why it comes with a shorter prison sentence. Bannon’s state-level fraud trial next month puts him in far greater jeopardy of spending a long time in prison. Bannon’s prison sentence for contempt will just be round one of his worsening legal troubles.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report