'This is not a mistake': Prosecutors use Bannon's own words against him in closing arguments
Steve Bannon. (Nordiske Mediedager/Flickr)

Closing arguments in Steve Bannon's trial for contempt of Congress began this Friday with Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston pointing out that the case "is not complicated, but it is important."

"This is a simple case about a man, that man, who didn't show up," Gaston said.

Bannon, who led Trump's successful 2016 presidential election campaign, was among dozens of people called to testify about the storming of Congress by Trump supporters.

Bannon was indicted on two charges of contempt of Congress after refusing to testify to a House of Representatives committee probing the violence.

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Gaston argued to the jury that Bannon's congressional subpoena, which he initially rebuffed, works just like a parking ticket. If a person finds one on their windshield, they have two options -- pay it, or try to argue against it. If your argument is rejected, the parking ticket has to be paid.

As NBC News' Ryan J. Reilly points out, Gaston argued that Bannon made an "intentional" choice not to cooperate, adding that Gaston cited Bannon's "I stand with Trump and the Constitution" quote to the Daily Mail.

"This is not a mistake," Gaston told the jury.

"Our government only works if people show up. It only works if people play by the rules. And it only works if people are held accountable when they do not," she said, according to CNN.

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Investigators believe Bannon and other Trump advisors could have information on links between the White House and the rioters.

After refusing to testify for months, Bannon finally agreed to cooperate with the investigation, a move prosecutors said was a "last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability" by stalling his trial for contempt.

Judge Carl Nichols ruled it should go ahead anyway, saying "I see no reason for extending this case any longer."

If convicted of contempt, Bannon, 68, faces a minimum sentence of 30 days and a maximum of one year in prison on each count.

He was Trump's strategy chief at the White House before being sacked in 2017.

Bannon was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering after allegedly defrauding thousands of donors to a campaign to fund Trump's anti-migrant wall along the southern border.

In Trump's final hours in office, he pardoned Bannon.

More than 850 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on Congress. The assault left at least five people dead and 140 police officers injured.

Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House after the riot -- he was charged with inciting an insurrection -- but was acquitted by the Senate.


With additional reporting by AFP

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