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Steve Bannon is sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of US Congress

Steve Bannon speaks to the media on Sept. 8 when he pleaded not guilty to New York state charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud related to an alleged online scheme to raise money for the construction of a wall along the southern US border.

Federal prosecutors wanted Steve Bannon to be sentenced 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 Friday to four months in prison and dealt a $6,500 fine. The federal judge said Bannon will not have to serve the sentence until the appeal of his conviction plays out, which Bannon had requested.

In their court filing earlier this week, federal prosecutors outlined their reasonings for a harsher sentence:

“For his sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress, the Defendant should be sentenced to six months’ imprisonment — the top end of the Sentencing Guidelines’ range—and fined $200,000 — based on his insistence on paying the maximum fine rather than cooperate with the Probation Office’s routine pre-sentencing financial investigation,” federal prosecutors wrote in their court filing.

They said he did not fully comply with the probation office in their pre-sentencing investigation, writing that Bannon “freely answered questions about his family, professional life, personal background, and health. But the Defendant refused to disclose his financial records, instead insisting that he is willing and able to pay any fine imposed, including the maximum fine on each count of conviction.”

Prosecutors added: “The rioters who overran the Capitol on January 6 did not just attack a building — they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endures. By flouting the Select Committee’s subpoena and its authority, the Defendant exacerbated that assault.” 

What happened in court Friday: Federal prosecutors reiterated these points, arguing that Bannon should be dealt a $200,000 fine — that is above the $1,000-100,000 guideline and the statutory maximum for the two counts of contempt he is facing.

Federal prosecutors pointed to Bannon’s refusal to provide the probation office with details about his finances as the reason for why he should be dealt the particularly harsh fine.

The judge however sounds skeptical, suggesting that Bannon didn’t really concede 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 “suffered no such threats” and “thumbed his nose at Congress.”

Bannon was found guilty by a jury in July of two counts of contempt of Congress.

CNN’s Holmes Lybrand contributed reporting to this post.

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