UPDATE: Trump ally Bannon appears in court on contempt charges

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office on Monday. Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon appeared before a judge on Monday to face criminal contempt charges for defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Caption
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office on Monday. Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon appeared before a judge on Monday to face criminal contempt charges for defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

WASHINGTON — Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, appeared before a judge on Monday to face criminal contempt charges for defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Bannon surrendered earlier in the day to FBI agents. The 67-year-old was indicted Friday on two counts of criminal contempt — one for refusing to appear for a congressional deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

Caption
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office on Monday. Bannon has surrendered to federal authorities to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Credit: Jose Luis Magana

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office on Monday. Bannon has surrendered to federal authorities to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
Caption
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office on Monday. Bannon has surrendered to federal authorities to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Credit: Jose Luis Magana

Credit: Jose Luis Magana

Bannon did not enter a plea during the hearing. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather released him without bail but required him to check in weekly with court officials and ordered him to surrender his passport. He is due back in court Thursday.

If convicted, Bannon faces a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year behind bars on each count, prosecutors said. Outside the courthouse, a large inflatable rat made to look like Trump was on the sidewalk as reporters waited for Bannon to leave the courthouse.

The indictment came as a second expected witness, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, defied his own subpoena from the committee on Friday and as Trump has escalated his legal battles to withhold documents and testimony about the insurrection.

ExploreSteve Bannon indicted on contempt charges for defying Jan. 6 subpoena

If the House votes to hold Meadows in contempt, that recommendation would also be sent to the Justice Department for a possible indictment.

Officials in both Democratic and Republican administrations have been held in contempt by Congress, but criminal indictments for contempt are exceedingly rare.

Caption
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Caption
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI Washington Field Office. Bannon was taken into custody Monday morning. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

Credit: Carolyn Kaster

The indictment against Bannon comes after a slew of Trump administration officials — including Bannon — defied requests and demands from Congress over the past five years with little consequence, including during an impeachment inquiry. President Barack Obama’s administration also declined to charge two of its officials who defied congressional demands.

The indictment says Bannon didn’t communicate with the committee in any way from the time he received the subpoena on Sept. 24 until Oct. 7 when his lawyer sent a letter, seven hours after the documents were due.

Bannon, who worked at the White House at the beginning of the Trump administration and currently serves as host of the conspiracy-minded “War Room” podcast, is a private citizen who “refused to appear to give testimony as required by a subpoena,” the indictment says.

When Bannon declined to appear for his deposition in October, his attorney said the former Trump adviser had been directed by a lawyer for Trump citing executive privilege not to answer questions.