Steve Bannon’s lawyers are hoping to overturn the former Trump adviser’s fourth-month prison sentence for refusing to cooperate with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 committee, NBC News reports. They made their argument before a federal appeals court on Thursday. Bannon attorney David Schoen said that former President Donald Trump had invoked executive privilege which prevented Bannon from complying with the House subpoena and that even if the privilege had been improperly invoked, Bannon was relying on the advice of his lawyer who told him he couldn’t testify before the committee. “Mr. Bannon acted as his lawyer told him to act, and in the only way he understood the law permitted him to act with respect to the subpoena. He didn’t ignore the subpoena,” Schoen told reporters.
Bannon was subpoenaed in special counsel Jack Smith’s grand jury investigation into Jan. 6 and Trump’s efforts to stay in office, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News in June. Schoen expressed hope Thursday that the panel would rule in Bannon's favor, but acknowledged to reporters that he may need to appeal the case to the full D.C. Circuit “and then go to the Supreme Court if we don’t succeed there.” Bannon was sentenced in October of last year to four months in federal prison along with a $6,500 fine, but U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols suspended the sentence until the appeals process plays out. He was charged with contempt of Congress for defying congressional subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee, which led to his conviction on two counts in July of last year after a jury trial. Bannon served in the White House during the first seven months of Trump’s presidency. The House Jan. 6 committee disbanded at the beginning of this year without receiving information from Bannon.