US DoJ Seeks to Strip Steve Bannon's Defence of Main Evidence Ahead of Criminal Contempt Trial
© AP Photo / Mary AltafferPresident Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon waits to be introduced during an ideas festival sponsored by The Economist, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in New York. Bannon said he's surprised the #MeToo movement hasn't had more impact on corporate America.
© AP Photo / Mary Altaffer
Donald Trump's former aide ignored a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee, which had been established under the pre-text of investigating the events and origins of the Capitol's storming. The committee decided to hold Bannon in contempt over his defiance.
The US Department of Justice seeks to dismiss the crucial portion of the defence of Steve Bannon, a former aide to ex-President Donald Trump, over his decision to skip a House committee's subpoena. Assistant US Attorney Amanda Vaughn has requested Judge Carl Nichols to dismiss the evidence that Bannon relied on the advice of his lawyer when he decided to ignore the House 6 January committee's subpoena.
"The Government anticipates filing a motion […] to exclude evidence and argument relating to any advice of counsel on the basis that it is not a defence to the pending charges", Vaughn said.
The Department of Justice did not elaborate on why it decided that Bannon's evidence holds no value in the case against him and why the fact that he relied on his lawyer's advice can't be viewed as proof of his innocence in court. The two sides, however, have been arguing about the nuances of the trial for weeks now, failing to agree even on some basic terms. They namely couldn't agree on how long the process will last and when the trial should start.
The prosecution insists that the case against Bannon is simple, should not take long and does not require volumes of his communications records with the lawyer and the Congress, which subpoenaed him. The former Trump aide's defence, in turn, insists that these documents may exonerate Bannon.
29 November 2021, 14:19 GMT
Trump's aide was subpoenaed by the House committee to testify on his possible involvement in the unrest that resulted in the storming of the Congress building by Trump supporters infuriated by the election results. Bannon, however, chose to ignore it, prompting the committee to hold him in contempt over his failure to appear before it in time.
Bannon said he would cooperate with the committee but only if a US court orders him to do so. He added that even in this case he would cite the right of executive privilege as a member of Donald Trump's administration to keep his communications classified and will refuse to cooperate with congressional investigators.
Trump himself has repeatedly criticised the committee for doing work that is already being done by the FBI. The ex-president alleged that the committee was created with the sole purpose of damaging him and slammed it as another "witch hunt".