A US federal judge has ordered Steve Bannon to report to prison by July 1, giving the former Donald Trump adviser a short window to get a higher court’s intervention.

Bannon was convicted of contempt of Congress in 2022 after failing to provide documents and testimony to the House Select committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, US Capitol attack. He was sentenced to four months in prison.

The federal judge presiding over the case, Carl Nichols, had initially paused the sentence while Bannon appealed the conviction.

Steve Bannon, seen here arriving at the federal courthouse in Washington, DC, on June 6, has been ordered to report to prison by July 1. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

Last month, however, a DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously rejected several challenges Bannon made to the case, and prosecutors immediately asked Nichols to send Bannon to prison to begin serving his sentence.

Nichols said on Thursday that, given the appeals court ruling, he did not believe the basis he had for pausing Bannon’s sentence “exists any longer”.

The judge, who was appointed by Trump, said that he concluded that he had the authority to lift the hold on Bannon’s sentence, even as an appeal of conviction will continue.

Potential high court intervention

Shortly after the hearing concluded, Bannon vowed to fight his contempt of Congress conviction “all the way to the Supreme Court if we have to”.

Bannon also claimed without evidence that his prosecution by the Justice Department was about “shutting down the MAGA movement, shutting down grassroots conservatives, shutting down President Trump”.

The federal judge presiding over the case, Carl Nichols, had initially paused the sentence while Bannon appealed the conviction. (AP)

“There’s nothing that can shut me up and nothing that will shut me up. There’s not a prison built or a jail built that will ever shut me up,” he told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Washington.

“We’re going to win at the Supreme Court,” he added.

Second ex-Trump adviser punished over subpoena non-compliance

At the hearing, Bannon’s attorney, David Schoen, argued that his client should be able to remain out of prison until the Supreme Court had a chance to weigh in on the case. Schoen also said that his request for the full DC Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case would be filed by June 24.

Prosecutor John Crabb said that Bannon had not satisfied the legal threshold for staying out of prison while his appeal continued. Crabb pointed to the failed effort by Peter Navarro, another ex-Trump adviser prosecuted for refusing to comply with a House January 6 committee subpoena, to pause his sentenced — an effort that was rebuffed by the DC Circuit and the Supreme Court.

Nichols said Navarro’s case presented different issues, and the judge ultimately pointed to the fact that three appeals court judges “wholeheartedly” rejected the arguments Bannon was making in his case. Nichols noted that a member of the DC Circuit panel considering Bannon’s case could have noted in a concurrence or dissent that they had concerns about the key precedent Bannon is seeking to overturn in his case, but no judge on the panel wrote such a statement.

With a little less than a month until the surrender date, Bannon could try to file emergency motions with the appeals court and even the Supreme Court seeking to push off his sentence longer.

After Nichols announced his order, Schoen tried again to convince Nichols to let Bannon stay out of prison, in an exchange with the judge that got heated.

Navarro is currently serving a four-month prison sentence for his 2023 conviction.

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