A federal choose on Monday declined to delay the upcoming trial of Steve Bannon, an adviser to former President Donald Trump who faces contempt expenses after refusing for months to cooperate with the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
Bannon remains to be scheduled to go on trial subsequent week regardless of telling the Home committee late Saturday that he’s now ready to testify. It is unclear whether or not Bannon will once more refuse to look earlier than the committee with the trial pending.
U.S. District Choose Carl Nichols additionally dominated in opposition to a number of requests by Bannon’s attorneys to hunt the testimony of Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi or the committee chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi. And Nichols barred Bannon’s attorneys from arguing earlier than a jury that the committee violated Home guidelines in demanding Bannon’s look, that Bannon defied the subpoena on the recommendation of his protection counsel or at Trump’s order.
Nichols additionally mentioned he may deal with throughout jury choice any issues about pretrial publicity because of the committee’s ongoing hearings. If it proves unattainable to choose an unbiased jury, the choose mentioned he would rethink a delay.
The rulings led one in every of Bannon’s attorneys, David Schoen, to talk out in frustration as he sought clarification from the choose.
“What’s the purpose of going to trial right here if there are not any defenses?” Schoen requested.
“Agreed,” Nichols responded.
Talking to reporters outdoors court docket, Schoen mentioned he questioned whether or not Bannon may successfully defend himself given Nichols’ rulings and hinted he would enchantment.
“He’s the choose,” Schoen mentioned of Nichols. “That’s why they’ve a court docket of appeals.”
The choose mentioned earlier within the listening to that Bannon may argue he thought the deadline to reply to the subpoena could not have been “operative.”
Bannon had been one of many highest-profile Trump-allied holdouts in refusing to testify earlier than the committee, main to 2 prison counts of contempt of Congress final yr for resisting the committee’s subpoena. He has argued that his testimony is protected by Trump’s declare of government privilege. The committee contends such a declare is doubtful as a result of Trump had fired Bannon from the White Home in 2017 and Bannon was thus a personal citizen when he was consulting with the then-president within the run-up to the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Bannon contacted the committee over the weekend after Trump issued a letter saying he would waive any declare of government privilege to testify earlier than what the previous president referred to as an “unselect committee of political thugs and hacks.”
Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of prison contempt of Congress. Every rely carries a minimal of 30 days of jail and so long as a yr behind bars.
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