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Steve Bannon won’t be spending his prison term in a ‘Club Fed’ as he had hoped, sources say

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) — When former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon goes to prison, he won’t be serving time at what’s known as a “Club Fed,” the most comfortable type of facility in the federal system, as he had wanted, according to people familiar with the arrangements.

Instead of a minimum-security prison camp, where many nonviolent offenders serve their time, Bannon – now a right-wing podcaster with a following of loyal Trump supporters – is set to report next month to the low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, one of the sources told CNN.

A federal judge ruled recently that Bannon must turn himself in by July 1 to begin serving a four-month sentence for contempt of Congress even as he appeals the case. His attorneys initially thought he may be able to do his time at a camp, the sources said.

But Bannon isn’t eligible for the lowest-level prison setup because he still has a pending criminal case against him in New York, where he is fighting the charges and set to go to trial in September. That case accuses him of defrauding donors in a fundraising effort branded the “We Build the Wall” campaign for a border wall between the US and Mexico.

Bannon was convicted by a federal jury two years ago in Washington, DC, for not complying with a subpoena for an interview and documents in the US House’s January 6, 2021, investigation. He has remained a staunch Trump ally and has been a vocal supporter of his presidential reelection bid.

Bannon’s lawyers have written to the DC US Circuit Court of Appeals that his imprisonment shouldn’t happen this summer, as the trial-level judge has ordered, because he would be behind bars “for the four-month period leading up to the November election, when millions of Americans look to him for information on important campaign issues,” according to a recent filing for Bannon.

“This would also effectively bar Mr. Bannon from serving as a meaningful advisor in the ongoing national campaign,” Bannon’s lawyers wrote.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons declined to comment, saying it could not release specific information on prisoners until after they’re in custody, for security and privacy reasons.

The prison in Connecticut where Bannon will live houses a large number of white-collar criminals, but it also may house violent and sex offenders in its men’s population.

It doesn’t have cells, and instead houses its inmates in open pods. Yet it does have a noticeable barrier — referred to colloquially as “the wall” — between the prison facility and the outside world, which prison camps don’t have.

More than 1,000 male prisoners are in the Danbury facility. Its much smaller adjacent prison camp for women was immortalized in a former prisoner’s memoir that inspired the TV show “Orange is the New Black.”

Some of Bannon’s defense attorneys, when contacted by CNN on Monday, weren’t aware of the plans or available, and Bannon hasn’t commented directly.

Rikers Island possibility

Bannon could still potentially face rougher prison environments. He may need to be held in a facility in New York City, such as the infamous Rikers Island jail, during his state trial proceedings if it takes place while he is still serving his federal sentence, one of the sources said.

His time in federal prison is likely to run through October if no appeals court intervenes, the person said.

Bannon and Peter Navarro – another Trump adviser who was sent to prison for contempt of Congress in the January 6 investigation – are not able to be released earlier than their four-month terms in prison, as some first-time offenders can be, because their sentences don’t include time under supervised release, people familiar with their situations tell CNN.

Navarro is set to be released on July 17. This means both Navarro and Bannon will be behind bars during the Republican National Convention in mid-July.

Both men retained prison consultant Sam Mangel to help them have the best setup on the inside.

Bannon is awaiting word from the DC Circuit this week on whether a panel of three judges would be willing to keep him out of prison for the moment. He has already lost one round of appeals, but his lawyers say he intends to go to the Supreme Court.

Bannon and Trump

Bannon still maintains close connections to Trump and his political world​.

Bannon spoke at a conservative gathering in Detroit this weekend where Trump also spoke. Bannon vowed that Trump’s political opponents and federal law enforcement authorities would face blowback if Trump wins a second term as president.

“You are going to be investigated, prosecuted and incarcerated,” Bannon said.

And Boris Epshteyn, one of the most influential legal advisers around Trump currently, has been part of Bannon’s legal defense strategy, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

On Monday, Bannon said the former president was calling him during his podcast. Bannon answered the phone and said he would call Trump back.

CNN’s Owen Dahlkamp, Sara Murray and Alayna Treene contributed to this report.

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