Former US President Donald Trump’s advisor Steve Bannon has been indicted after he refused to testify before a congressional committee investigating the Capitol riot that took place on January 6 this year.
Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, the Justice Department said.
On Friday, the Justice Department said the 67-year-old had been indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts: refusing to appear for a deposition and refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena
A federal grand jury returned the indictment in a significant victory for the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack, which is battling efforts by Trump and top aides to use presidential privilege to block testimony and documents necessary for the probe.
Attorney General Merrick Garland had been under tremendous political pressure to indict Bannon since the House referred the Trump ally to the Justice Department for contempt on October 21.
“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the Department adheres to the rule of law, follow the facts and the law, and pursues equal justice under the law,” Garland said in a statement Friday.
“Today’s charges reflect the Department’s steadfast commitment to these principles,” he added.
The indictment came hours after Trump’s former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, declined to show up for a committee deposition after being subpoenaed, which could lead to similar charges of contempt.
The US House Committee subpoenaed Bannon on September 23. He was among the first of dozens of people who were called to testify on the violent attack when thousands of Trump’s supporters marched onto the Capitol in protest after the former president claimed that Biden rigged the election.
The committee said Bannon has relevant information on how the attack, in which five people were killed, came about.
It pointed to his presence on January 5 in activities focused on blocking the certification, when he said, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”