Stephen Barron, advisor to former US President Donald Trump has been slapped with criminal charges for defying a subpoena requesting documents for the purose of investigating the US Capitol riots in Washington this January, where Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building to stop the ratification of Joe Biden's election victory.
Barron has cited "executive privilege" for his refusal to co-operate with the House of Representatives select committee seeking testimony and documents from him. He charged with one count of contempt of Congress for refusing to appear for a deposition and a second count for refusing to produce documents. Contempt of Congress is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $100,000.
The committee has alleged that Bannon had foreknowledge of the Capitol attack as he had claimed the "all hell would break loose" on January 6 a day before in a radio interview.
Ex-President Trump had already sued the National Archives in October in an attempt to keep secret hundreds of documents related to his Presidency, a suit which was rejected by a judge who placed the interest of the public as paramount in the case. Trump has appealed the ruling. In 2020, Trump pardoned Barron after he was charged with defrauding donors to We Build the Wall, a private fund-raising effort to boost Trump's wall project along the U.S.-Mexican border.
"Steve Bannon's indictment should send a clear message to anyone who thinks they can ignore the Select Committee or try to stonewall our investigation: no one is above the law," Democrat Bennie Thompson and Republican Liz Cheney, the leaders of the committee, said in a statement.