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Steve Bannon’s Contempt Trial Begins Monday: Here’s What to Expect

Topline

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon will stand trial beginning Monday in DC Federal District Court on two counts of contempt of Congress for his refusal to comply with a Jan. 6 subpoena. . In a trial, prosecutors hope to be brief and lead to the first culprit. verdict for contempt of Congress in nearly 50 years.

Highlights

Jury selection will begin on Monday, with opening arguments to follow after a panel is selected.

Prosecutors intend to take just one day to present their case, which will focus on Bannon’s choice to ignore a September 2021 subpoena asking him to turn over documents and testify before the committee on 6 January, according to Washington Post.

Bannon pleaded not guilty and repeatedly asserted that conversations he had with then-President Donald Trump before and potentially during the Capitol storming were protected by court privilege. executive – a legally shaky assertion since Bannon quit as a civil servant in 2017.

George W. Bush-appointed District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who is overseeing the trial, denied a request by Bannon’s legal team to delay proceedings regarding executive privilege claims.

Nichols reportedly told Bannon’s attorneys that the only possible defense at this point is to argue that Bannon did not understand the time limit set for him in the subpoena – it is unclear whether Bannon will testify.

Bannon faces up to two years in prison if convicted on both counts of contempt.

Surprising fact

The most recent conviction for contempt of Congress dates back to 1974, when G. Gordon Liddy was convicted for his role in the Watergate scandal. There hasn’t been a contempt of Congress trial since 1983, when Reagan-era Environmental Protection Agency head Rita Lavelle was found not guilty, though she was later was convicted of a separate federal perjury charge related to the embezzlement of EPA funds. Most indictments for contempt of Congress result in plea deals and never go to trial.

To monitor

Bannon’s attorney recently informed the Jan. 6 committee that his client is now ready to testify, preferably in open court, but the statement came as Bannon’s team worked to delay the trial. . It’s unclear whether he still intends to testify after Nichols ordered the trial start date on Monday.

Key Context

Bannon was among the first tranche of former Trump administration officials the committee subpoenaed on Jan. 6, and he quickly came to despise him after he refused to comply. Bannon is said to have been among a small group of Trump advisers who holed up in DC’s Willard Hotel after the 2020 election to devise plans for Trump to overturn the results. Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and right-wing jurist John Eastman were also reportedly among those working at the hotel. The Jan. 6 panel revealed during its hearing on Tuesday that Bannon and Trump spoke on the phone twice on Jan. 5. After the first conversation, Bannon said on his radio show, “Hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Further reading

House Holds Bannon in Contempt for Denying Jan. 6 Subpoena – Criminal Charges Could Follow (Forbes)

Jan. 6 Committee Awaits Steve Bannon Testimony, Says Rep. Lofgren (Forbes)

Steve Bannon’s contempt of congress trial will begin next week, under judge’s rules (Forbes)

Bannon pleads not guilty to contempt of Congress (Forbes)

Facing trial, Bannon vows to go ‘medieval’, but judge says meh (Washington Post)

Steve Bannon said ‘all hell is going to break loose’ after speaking to Trump on January 5 (Rolling Stone)

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Post expires at 5:34am on Friday July 22nd, 2022