Bannon Can Be Held In Jail Sooner Than Most Realize
Most legal analysis in the media on whether Steve Bannon will be able to run out the clock and avoid jail time for thumbing his nose at Congress has not mentioned something important.
The Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland do not necessarily need to request that Mr. Bannon be held, for that to happen.
Federal release and detention are governed by 18 U.S.C. §§ 3141-3156 of the Bail Reform Act.
According to Sec.3142(f)(2)(b), upon the motion of the government attorney or on the court’s (i.e., a judge’s) own motion, the court can detain Bannon BEFORE trial if a “serious risk” exists that the defendant “will obstruct justice or threaten a witness”.
Upon arraignment, federal judges have to determine not only the potential for bail but also the potential for holding a defendant pending trial.
Who can seriously argue that there is not a “serious risk” Bannon will obstruct justice based upon his previous conduct, his recent conduct with the January 6th congressional committee, and his public statements?
The text of the law is clear: regardless of what the DOJ asks for in terms of pretrial detention, the federal judge can order him held in jail while awaiting trial.
Whether or not such a detention occurs, it is important to understand that the possibility that Bannon will be taken into custody upon arraignment not only exists, it may even be likely.