Contempt of Congress trial for former Trump adviser Bannon begins | Courts News


Prosecutors say Steve Bannon intentionally defied Congress; defence attorneys argue he was negotiating with Jan 6 panel.

US prosecutors have accused former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon of wilfully ignoring a congressional subpoena in open defiance of the US authorities.

Bannon’s trial for contempt of Congress prices, stemming from refusing at hand over info subpoenaed by a congressional committee investigating the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol, started on Tuesday.

“It wasn’t non-compulsory. It wasn’t a request, and it wasn’t an invite. It was necessary,” Assistant US Lawyer Amanda Vaughn advised jurors in her opening assertion.

“The defendant’s failure to conform was deliberate. It wasn’t an accident, it wasn’t a mistake. It was a selection.”


However his attorneys argued on Tuesday that the fees in opposition to him are politically motivated and that Bannon was engaged in good-faith negotiations with the congressional committee when he was charged.

“Nobody ignored the subpoena,” Evan Corcoran advised the jury.

In actuality, he stated, one other one in every of Bannon’s then-lawyers, Robert Costello, contacted an legal professional for the committee to precise a few of Bannon’s considerations about testifying.

“They did what two attorneys do. They negotiated,” Corcoran stated, including that Bannon and his authorized crew believed “the dates of the subpoena weren’t fastened; they have been versatile”.

Bannon reversed course this month and stated he wished to testify earlier than a public committee listening to, practically 10 months after defying the subpoena. There was no indication of any plan to have him achieve this, because the committee probably would need him to first testify in closed classes so as to cowl a variety of issues. Trump advised Bannon he was waiving any govt privilege declare.

An unofficial adviser to Trump on the time of the Capitol attack, Bannon is charged with defying a subpoena from the January 6 committee that sought his information and testimony.

He was indicted in November on two counts of felony contempt of Congress, one month after the Justice Division obtained a congressional referral. Every depend carries a minimal of 30 days of jail and so long as a 12 months behind bars if Bannon is convicted.

US District Decide Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, had beforehand dominated that important parts of Bannon’s deliberate defence have been irrelevant and couldn’t be launched in court docket. He dominated final week that Bannon couldn’t declare he believed he was coated by govt privilege or that he was appearing on the recommendation of his attorneys.

Bannon, 68, had been one of the vital outstanding of the Trump-allied holdouts refusing to testify earlier than the committee.

Final month, the Justice Division charged Peter Navarro, a former adviser to Trump, with two counts of contempt of Congress for failing to cooperate with the committee.

Bannon had argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s declare of govt privilege, which permits presidents to withhold confidential info from the courts and the legislative department.

Trump has repeatedly asserted govt privilege — though he’s a former, not present president — to attempt to block witness testimony and the discharge of White Home paperwork. The Supreme Court docket in January ruled against Trump’s efforts to cease the Nationwide Archives from cooperating with the committee after a decrease court docket decide, Tanya S Chutkan, famous partly, “Presidents will not be kings”.

Bannon’s trial comes because the congressional committee presents its findings on the January 6 riots in a collection of public hearings which have tried to link Trump to the assault.

The subsequent listening to is ready for Thursday night. The panel introduced on Tuesday that the session will proceed regardless of Congressman Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, testing constructive for COVID-19.

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