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Steve Bannon accidentally points to sign reading ‘jail all coup plotters’ amid contempt trial

The Independent logo The Independent 10/21/2022 Josh Marcus

Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon accidentally pointed to a sign that read “Jail all coup plotters” as he railed against the Biden administration on Friday.

Mr Bannon pointed at the sign outside of a federal courthouse in Washington, where he was sentenced to four months in jail and fined $6,500 for defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee in Congress.

“As that sign says right there—can I have the vote sign?” Mr Bannon said as he spoke to reporters, asking a demonstrator to flip their coup plotter placard to the opposite side, which just read “Vote.”

Mr Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress for refusing the special committee’s subpoenas.

The Donald Trump ally was a “a private citizen” who withheld information “under which no conceivable claim of executive privilege could’ve been made,” Judge Carl Nichols wrote in his ruling on Friday. "Others must be deterred from committing similar crimes.”

Prosecutors had been hoping for an even stiffer sentence of six months and a $200,000 fine, arguing Mr Bannon “chose hiding behind a fabricated claim of executive privilege and advice of counsel to thumb his nose at Congress.”

In court, the Trump ally’s attorneys argued Mr Bannon “should make no apology.”

"There is nothing here to deter. There is nothing here to punish,” they added.

Outside the courthouse on Friday, Mr Bannon railed against the Biden administration.

“Remember, this illegitimate regime, their judgment day is on 8 November, when the Biden administration ends,” he told a crowd.

Mr Bannon’s sentence is thought to be the first person given jail time for contempt of Congress in modern US history.

Congress was interested in investigating Mr Bannon because he was one of a number of Trump associates present at a campaign “war room” at Washington’s Willard Hotel during the days leading up to January 6.

Just before his trial began, Mr Bannon offered to testify in exchange for shedding his charges, but the government refused.

Peter Navarro, the former Trump administration trade advisor, was indicted in June on similar contempt charges, and will be tried next month.

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