On New Year's Day 1996, Santa Monica police were called to the home of Steve Bannon and his then-wife, Mary Louise Piccard, on reports of domestic violence. According to documents provided by the city, Bannon was charged with three misdemeanor counts relating to the incident, but the case was ultimately dismissed because Piccard did not appear for trial.
According to the report, Bannon had been physically violent with Piccard in the beginning of their relationship, but had stopped for roughly four years (with the help of counseling). However, on 1 January 1996, Piccard apparently answered the door in tears when a Santa Monica police officer responded to a 911 hang-up call from the home.
The officer wrote:
Her husband and father of the twins is Stephen Bannon. Mrs. Bannon said she has been seeing Mr. Bannon for approximately 6 1/2 years. In the beginning of their relationship, she said they [had] 3 or 4 arguments that became physical, and they have been going to counseling. There has not been any physical abuse in their arguments for about the past 4 years. Mrs. Bannon said they have been arguing a lot, but not violence.
The police report goes on to note that Bannon had slept on the couch on New Years Eve, the night before the alleged violence. He became upset with Piccard when she asked to use a credit card to go grocery shopping. The altercation escalated until Piccard told him she wanted a divorce.
[Piccard] said she spit at him, and [he] reached up to her from the driver's seat of his car and grabbed her left wrist. He pulled her down, as if he was trying to pull into the car, over the door. [Piccard] said Mr. Bannon grabbed at neck, also pulling her into the car. She said that she started to fight back, striking at his face, so he would let go of her. After a short period of time she was able to get away from him.
She ran back into the house, where the couple's children were, and tried to call 911, but Bannon jumped over her and the twins, grabbed the phone and threw it across the room before leaving the home, according to the report. He was charged with misdemeanor witness intimidation, domestic violence with traumatic injury and battery. he pleaded not guilty. The case was dismissed when Piccard didn't appear for trial; the couple ultimately divorced.
On 13 November 2016, Bannon was selected by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as his chief White House strategist, prompting questions about whether previous media reports about the case were true. Bannon led Breitbart after death of its founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012, until Trump tapped him to head his campaign in August 2016.
A representative for Bannon has not yet responded to our request for comment.

Republicans refuse to criticize Steve Bannon hire after growing backlash

Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio and others are staying neutral on the controversial Trump appointment: ‘The president has a right to choose his staff’

Republicans declined to criticize Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Steve Bannon as the chief strategist to his impending administration, despite the latter’s record of promoting white supremacy.
As lawmakers returned to Washington on Tuesday for the first time since Trump’s victory in the US presidential election, Democrats swiftly called on the president-elect to rescind his hiring of Bannon.
But Republicans said it was time to unify behind Trump and sidestepped questions on his promotion of antisemitic, anti-Muslim and misogynist content while overseeing the “alt-right” website Breitbart News.
“I don’t want to accuse a man of being antisemitic or racist whom I’ve never met,” said Lindsey Graham, a senator from South Carolina told reporters on Capitol Hill when asked about the Bannon appointment.
“I’ve never met him. I wouldn’t know him if he walked in the door,” he said, before adding of Breitbart: “The website in question was a friendly site to the alt-right. I don’t like them and they don’t like me and I’m glad.”
Marco Rubio said he had “no reaction” to the Bannon news, even though the former Breitbart chairman used his website to try to undermine the Florida senator’s political career.
“The president has a right to choose his own staff,” said Rubio, who ran unsuccessfully against Trump for the Republican nomination but was re-elected to a second term in the Senate last week.
Rubio also dismissed speculation that he might serve in Trump’s cabinet, saying he had not spoken with the president-elect’s transition team and would “prefer to be in the Senate”.
Trump’s move to elevate Bannon, who served as the CEO to his presidential campaign, sparked immediate backlash on Monday. (Though not from white supremacists groups, who celebrated it.)
A sampling of the headlines under his stewardship at Breitbart were rapidly circulated. They included articles asserting that birth control made women “unattractive and crazy”, referring to neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol as a “renegade Jew”, and likening Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who in 2011 was shot in the head, to a “human shield” for the gun control movement.
The website’s former use of a “black crime” topic tag was also highlighted, as was its portrayal of immigrants and Muslims as communities to be feared.
Harry Reid, the outgoing Senate Democratic leader, said on Tuesday in a Senate floor speech that Trump should sever his ties with Bannon rather than installing him at the highest levels of the White House.
“If Trump is serious about seeking unity, the first thing he should do is rescind his appointment of Steve Bannon … As long as a champion of racial division is a step away from the Oval Office it will be impossible to take Trump’s efforts to heal the nation seriously.”
Republicans urged the American public to give Trump an opportunity to lead while expressing confidence that the real estate mogul’s divisive campaign rhetoric was a tool of the past.
“The president is going to be judged on his results,” the House speaker, Paul Ryan, told reporters.
Of Bannon, who has personally attacked the House speaker and even promoted his primary challenger on Breitbart, Ryan added: “This is a person who helped [Trump] win an incredible victory and an incredible campaign.”
“Give him a chance, see how he’s going to govern,” said Ron Johnson, a senator from Wisconsin, about both Trump’s tenor toward minorities and association with Bannon.
Republicans such as Graham and Rubio cited Barack Obama as an example of how the American people should rally behind Trump.
“This is important – he’s won, we want him to be successful, because that’s good for America,” Rubio told the Guardian.
Asked about concerns among minorities, Rubio said he was encouraged to see Trump’s vow to be “a president for all Americans” in his election night acceptance speech and other recent interviews such as on CBS’s 60 Minutes.
“It’s a message he’s now echoed a number of times,” the senator said. “But ultimately, I think he’s aware that it is his responsibility as president-elect to address these concerns and he’s trying, from what I’ve seen.”
Graham confessed he had not been a passenger on what he dubbed as “the Trump train” during the election, but said he was prepared to work with his former rival on issues such as infrastructure and defense spending.
But Graham, among the leading defense hawks in Congress, warned he would not entertain Trump’s desire to forge a relationship with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.
“He wants to reset with Russia. Maybe he can do it,” Graham said. “But here’s my view about Russia: they’re a bad actor in the world and they need to be reined in.”
“He is the president of the United States, and he is the leading diplomat for the country,” the senator added of Trump, “but Congress has a role.”