Trump-appointed judge shoots down Bannon lawyer claim that there's no mandatory minimum for his crimes
Steve Bannon / Gage Skidmore.

On Friday, longtime Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon faced his sentencing hearing for contempt of Congress — and his attorney was swatted down by Judge Carl Nichols, himself a Trump appointee, over his argument that Bannon is not subject to a mandatory minimum sentence.

According to Law & Crime's Adam Klasfeld, David Schoen, the lawyer representing Bannon, claimed that the statute his client was convicted of violating, 18 U.S.C. § 192 (refusal of witness to testify or produce papers) does not include a mandatory minimum. But Nichols was quick to point out that the statute explicitly says the offense is "punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 nor less than $100 and imprisonment in a common jail for not less than one month nor more than twelve months."

Schoen, who also represented Trump during his second impeachment trial, claimed this isn't really a minimum or a maximum — to which Nichols replied, "You've made that argument. You've preserved it. I reject it." Nichols ruled that the minimum will apply.

Bannon was charged and subsequently convicted of contempt of Congress over his blanket refusal to testify or provide any requested information to the House Select Committee on January 6.

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Immediately prior to that attack, Bannon proclaimed on his podcast that "all hell is going to break loose tomorrow," leading investigators to suspect he may have had inside knowledge. Following his conviction, Bannon belatedly tried to offer some information to congressional investigators, but according to legal experts, this is unlikely to afford him any leniency and may even backfire.

In addition to the contempt of Congress charges, Bannon faces fraud charges in the state of New York for raising money from Trump supporters for his "We Build The Wall" philanthropic venture to privately construct Trump's proposed wall at the southern border, only for he and his associates to pocket large amounts of the money for personal use — a claim he denies. He had previously been charged with this same offense at the federal level, but Trump pardoned him on his final day in office.