Steve Bannon, Former Trump Adviser and Media Figure, Indicted

Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon exits the Manhattan Federal Court on Aug. 20, 2020 in the Manhattan borough of New York City. Bannon and three other defendants have been indicted for allegedly defrauding donors in a $25 million border wall fundraising campaign.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon exits Federal Court in Manhattan in August. (Image credit: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Steve Bannon, adviser to Donald Trump and longtime media figure, has been indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress because of his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, which the Justice Department calls a Capitol ”Breach.“

One contempt charge is for refusing to appear for a deposition and another is for refusing to produce relevant documents. Conviction on each charge carriers a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail and a bit of a slap-on-the-wrist fine — as little as $100 and no more than $1,000 for each.

The committee had said it had reason to believe Bannon, formerly a chief strategist for President Trump, had information relevant to its investigation. Bannon had not been a member of the administration since leaving the White House in 2017.

“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, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” said Attorney General Merrick Garland Friday (Nov. 12). “Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”

Bannon's media history, according to, includes co-founding Bannon & Co., whose clients included MGM, Samsung and Polygram and which negotiated the sale of Castle Rock Entertainment, for which it received a stake in a number of TV shows including a then relatively new Seinfeld. Seinfeld has since been a gold mine in syndication, including for Bannon Inc.

Bannon became a Trump associate through his running of conservative/alt-right web site, which he took over when his friend, Andrew Breitbart, died in 2012. Bannon backed Trump and was repaid by access to the president as senior counselor and chief strategist. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), one of only two GOP members of the Select Committee, said he hoped DOJ's action would encourage others to cooperate. “We just want answers,” he told CNN‘s Jake Tapper.

The House voted back in October along mostly party lines to indict Bannon for criminal contempt.

Bannon is no stranger to federal indictment. In August 2020 he was among a number of people arrested and indicted on charges they defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors to "We Build the Wall," a campaign to help build a wall on the southern border.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.