A Timeline Of Steve Bannon's Past Legal Troubles

Trump supporters organized into a mob riot after Donald Trump lost the 2020 election, resulting in the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. As Britannica explains, the rioters claimed that the election was rigged and attempted to stage a coup against the U.S government. The attack was one of the largest acts of domestic terrorism committed in American history. A special January 6 committee was formed and tasked with investigating the events around the riot and taking to court those who stoked its violence. 

Among them, Steve Bannon was one of the most vocal supporters of the attack. Bannon was one of America's largest media pundits, having been the executive chairman of right-wing news outlet Breitbart. As CNBC says, Bannon was found guilty of contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in prison, along with a $6,500 fine. Bannon had a sizeable role in stoking January 6 conspiracy theories, leading to his eventual trial in court. But this wasn't his first brush with the law.

Who is Steve Bannon?

Steve Bannon was born November 27, 1953, in Norfolk, Virginia. As Britannica explains, Bannon went to a Richmond military school early on, eventually going on to serve in the U.S. Navy after graduation, then continued on as a chief of naval operations special assistant. Bannon got intensely involved with politics, worked for a few years at Goldman Sachs, then eventually establishing his own entertainment company, Bannon & Co. Bannon also had a filmmaking period during which he produced a number of movies, such as "In the Face of Evil: Reagan's War in Word and Deed."

As BBC says, Bannon eventually helmed the right-wing media empire Breitbart in 2012 after its previous executive head passed away. The Breitbart news outlet is known for its far-right views, including conspiracy theories and neo-Nazism. Bannon turned White House adviser to then-President Donald Trump for a short period during Trump's time in office. 

Steve Bannon's domestic violence charges

Bannon's controversies don't end at his far right-views. He has been accused of domestic violence by a previous wife. As The Daily Beast reports, Mary Louise Piccard, Bannon's second wife (1995-97, per Britannica), accused him of violent abuse during their marriage. The domestic violence charge occurred sometime in the 1990s and alleged that Bannon had grabbed her throat and arm in a violent exchange. Another detail about the report is that Bannon apparently threatened to keep their children too. 

As Politico reports, Bannon pleaded not guilty, and the police had allegedly never gotten in contact with him. Bannon had numerous complaints filed against him in 1996 in relation to domestic abuse problems, though charges were ultimately dismissed. Bannon and his wife promptly divorced in the following year. What remains of any and all legal troubles is somewhat buried beneath a slew of other charges against him.

Steve Bannon was indicted with We Build The Wall fraud back in 2020

One of Donald Trump's biggest talking points during his presidential campaign and presidency was that he'd build a giant border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which would be paid, as he said, by Mexico. As Politico explains, Trump has presented a laundry list of justifications for wanting a wall, citing homeland security as one. When Trump's wall failed to materialize, many Trump supporters organized to try to fund building the wall themselves. 

Steve Bannon was one such person. As NPR says, Bannon was behind the We Build the Wall charity initiative, which aimed at raising funds for Trump's border wall. This initiative was eventually outed as a fraud scam, with Bannon accused of having defrauded his donors, using the money instead on personal purchases. He is currently facing charges for this scam and will eventually be on trial for it November 2023. 

Steve Bannon received another We Build The Wall fraud indictment after being pardoned by Trump

As part of the presidential powers, sitting presidents can pardon those charged with crimes at the federal level. During his presidency, Donald Trump took full advantage of this power. As AP News explains, Trump had approved numerous last-minute pardons after losing to Joe Biden in the 2020 race. People such as Lil Wayne, Kodak Black, Michael Harris, Hillel Nahmad, and more were pardoned by the president. Among them, Bannon also received a pardon for his fraud charges. 

As Reuters says, Bannon's fraud charges were ultimately dismissed in court by U.S District Judge Analisa Torres. The trial was held in Manhattan, New York, and the judge cited Trump's pardon as the reason for doing so. The prosecutors were against the indictment being dismissed outright, instead wanting Bannon as a defendant dismissed. There were four people, including Bannon, involved with the We Build the Wall fraud.

The January 6 committee subpoenaed Steve Bannon back in 2021 for involvement with the insurrection

Steve Bannon's contributions to the January 6 insurrection were investigated in October of last year by the committee. As CNBC says, Bannon had been subpoenaed for refusing to submit appropriate documents or a testimony before Congress, and thus held in contempt for a year. Bannon was eventually indicted back in November for two criminal charges, which led to a federal trial conviction in July. Bannon's lawyers fought the conviction, stating that Bannon had only been following what his lawyer told him to do. 

This argument did not work, however. As AP News explains, Bannon was eventually sentenced to four months in prison and issued a $6,500 fine for his refusal to comply with federal orders. Prosecutors had pushed for a longer sentence for Bannon, as they fully blamed him for the non-compliance, which they considered a "bad faith strategy." What comes next for Bannon is not entirely clear, though this is one of multiple January 6 related trials that will unfold.