Steve Bannon, a former advisor to President Donald Trump, has been ordered by a US federal judge to report to prison by 1 July to serve a four-month sentence for

contempt of Congress. This decision follows years of legal disputes, with an appeals court upholding Bannon's 2022 conviction last month.

Bannon, now a right-wing podcaster, was found guilty of illegally refusing to testify before the committee investigating the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot. Despite his conviction, Bannon, 70, has denied any criminal wrongdoing. His lawyer condemned the ruling as a "horrible decision."

Following Thursday's decision, Bannon declared his intention to fight the ruling, stating, "We will go all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to." He added defiantly, "There's not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up," and claimed the legal challenges against him were aimed at "shutting down the Maga movement," referring to Trump's "Make America Great Again" campaign.

Bannon maintained that he was acting on legal advice when he refused to testify before the House committee investigating the 6 January attack, during which rioters sought to halt the certification of Joe Biden's election victory. His lawyer, David Schoen, argued that Bannon was adhering to Trump's invocation of executive privilege, which allows presidents to keep some communications confidential.

However, a three-member panel from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected this defense in May, stating that Bannon's claim "runs headlong into settled law." Justice Bradley Garcia noted, "This exact 'advice of counsel' defense is no defense at all."

Although Bannon's legal team intends to appeal to a higher court, a full appeals court could potentially delay the sentencing order if it decides to take up the case and issue its own ruling.

Bannon was a crucial figure in Trump's 2016 election campaign and later served as chief strategist in the White House. He left the administration following the violent far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, but has remained a close ally of the former president. Another senior Trump aide, Peter Navarro, began serving his prison sentence in March after his own conviction for contempt of Congress. Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, Wikimedia commons.