Steve Bannon Requests Delay in Criminal Trial Over ‘Media Blitz’ of Jan. 6 Panel’s Hearings
04:13 GMT 30.06.2022 (Updated: 04:14 GMT 30.06.2022)
Federal prosecutors leveled two ‘contempt of Congress’ charges against Steve Bannon after the ex-White House chief strategist failed to produce relevant documents and rejected compliance to a subpoena issued by January 6 panel probing the Capitol riot. The Washington, DC, trial is presently set to begin on July 18.
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon is seeking a delay in his upcoming criminal case due to the public spectacle and popularity of televised House select committee hearings, according to a June 29 filing in a DC court by attorneys David Schoen, Robert Costello and Evan Corcoran.
The Trump-era strategist’s defense team argued their client would not be afforded a “fair trial” unless the case was scheduled months after the hearings wrapped. The filing called for October 25 to replace the July 18 start date of this year due to the possibility of jurors’ opinions being influenced by the US lawmakers tasked with probing the events that took place on January 6, 2021.
“Public impact is not limited to the hearings themselves, but to the media coverage that magnified the hearings. In Washington, DC, where trial will take place – and where the acts alleged in the Indictment took place–every major media outlet treated the hearings as a top news story,” wrote Bannon’s attorneys.
Attorneys for Bannon also accused members of the nine-member panel of making “inflammatory remarks about the culpability of President Trump and his closest advisors, including Mr. Bannon,” amid “purported ‘findings’ on issues that may prejudice the minds of jurors in this case.”
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy
(R-CA), who initially claimed the GOP will conduct their own probe into the matter, argued last month that a criminal conviction of Bannon
would lack legal basis, as the House select committee investigating the deadly insurrection “failed to appoint 13 Members.”
In a legal brief to presiding US District Judge Carl Nichols, McCarthy and House GOP Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) declared that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) decision to shave the committee down from 13 appointees to 9 appointees “deprives the Select Committee of its competence and no criminal prosecution arising from conduct (or lack thereof) before the Select Committee can lie.”
Pelosi has previously highlighted that committee proceedings did not meet McCarthy’s standards in 2005, when then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) appointed 11 Republican lawmakers to serve on an all-GOP select committee probing the US government’s shortcomings in responding to Hurricane Katrina. The panel was ultimately appointed, despite Pelosi’s rejection of the “sham” group.
Pelosi notably provided McCarthy with an opportunity to select up to five members to appear on the board, but rescinded all five of his proposed appointees after the speaker rejected the submissions of Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-ID), two political allies who were rumored to have been in talks with Trump about a plot to subvert democracy and overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Cheney: GOP Cannot Be Loyal to Trump and Loyal to the Constitution
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chair and one of two Republicans on the January 6 committee, reiterated once more in a Wednesday speech that the 9-member panel has learned that efforts then-President Trump “oversaw and engaged in were even more chilling and threatening than we imagined."
Speaking from the Ronald Reagan Library in California, the Wyoming Republican referred to Trump as a domestic threat who, with the help of “Republican leaders and elected officials,” is “attempting to unravel the foundations of our Constitutional Republic.”
By pledging loyalty to Trump, those leaders and officials have “made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man,” Cheney said.
"It is undeniable—the Republican Party cannot be both loyal to Donald Trump and loyal to the Constitution,” read an excerpt from Cheney’s speech, as reported by Axios.
She also took time to praise Cassidy Hutchinson
, the former White House aide who revealed that Trump lunged at his security detail after being informed that he would not be taken to the US Capitol to “protest” with his supporters.
“Her superiors—men many years older—are hiding behind executive privilege, anonymity and intimidation," Cheney said. "Her bravery and patriotism were awesome to behold. Little girls all across this great nation are seeing what it really means to love this country, what it really means to be a patriot.
Hutchinson’s legal team issued a statement Wednesday emphasizing that the former White House aide “stands by all of the testimony she provided yesterday,”despite pushback from Trump supporters.