Judge rejects Bannon’s bid to toss contempt charges

cigaretteman

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A federal judge on Wednesday denied Stephen K. Bannon’s motion to dismiss the criminal contempt case against him, saying he would allow a July 18 trial to go forward as scheduled.
Bannon, 67, was charged in November with two counts of contempt of Congress after refusing to comply with a subpoena issued a few months earlier by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The former chief strategist to President Donald Trump had asked U.S. District Carl J. Nichols to toss out the charges, arguing that he relied on the Justice Department’s long-standing advice about congressional subpoenas to White House aides and was not committing a crime when he failed to produce documents or appear before the committee.

But at a three-hour court hearing Wednesday, Nichols, a 2019 Trump appointee, repeatedly challenged his claims and ultimately decided in the Justice Department’s favor.

The decision was a critical victory for the prosecution that Attorney General Merrick Garland said was brought to “show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law.” It also provided a moral victory to the House committee, even though a conviction would not force Bannon to cooperate.
The judge questioned in particular whether Bannon — who was not in the White House for the events leading up to Jan. 6 — was covered by the opinions of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which has asserted that, if the president invokes executive privilege, his senior aides cannot be made to testify. Nichols also rejected Bannon’s claim that the composition of the House investigative committee rendered it illegitimate.

Bannon is one of two former Trump associates the Justice Department is prosecuting for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the Jan. 6 committee. Earlier this month, Trump’s White House trade adviser Peter Navarro was indicted on the same contempt charges that Bannon faces. But the Justice Department at the same time revealed it would not prosecute two other high-ranking Trump aides who the committee had referred for contempt — former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and communications chief Daniel Scavino Jr.






The misdemeanor contempt charges against each carry a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Bannon, who has pleaded not guilty, argued that he refused to respond to a Sept. 23 subpoena by the committee in-part on the advice of his counsel, Robert J. Costello, who said that Trump asserted executive privilege over appearances by his former aides. But Nichols said it was a “disputed fact” whether Trump categorically invoked executive privilege or “unequivocally directed” Bannon not to comply with the committee

Though he rejected Bannon’s bid to throw out the case, Nichols said he would decide later whether Bannon could raise the Justice Department opinions as a defense in his trial.
David Schoen, Bannon’s defense attorney, said Bannon would seek to delay his trial, alleging that the House committee’s ongoing hearings and lawmakers’ statements are tainting the pool of potential jurors.

 

lucas80

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Bannon looks like he lives under a bridge, and drinks $1.99 bottles of wine out of a paper bag. But, in certain circles his is celebrated. Mainly for owning Libs, and for his desire to just burn things down.
This is the guy that Donald Trump gave a pardon to instead of letting him go to prison for stealing money from Trump's people. It's insane that Bannon is walking the streets a free man right now.
 

lucas80

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I saw some of his grifting in front of the courthouse after the hearing. He went down the list of insults against Shifty Schiff, and played the victim. Too bad that won't work in court. This is a pretty straight forward case. He won't get a pardon this time.
 

nu2u

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Aug 10, 2006
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I saw some of his grifting in front of the courthouse after the hearing. He went down the list of insults against Shifty Schiff, and played the victim. Too bad that won't work in court. This is a pretty straight forward case. He won't get a pardon this time.
IIRC Bannon has subpoenaed Pelosi, Schiff, Raskin and other Dem politicians as part of his defense case. In the news clip I saw, he was promising to call them as witnesses and grill them (with Q inspired questions, no doubt). Has the judge ruled on his witness list?

If any Dem congressmen are allowed as defense witnesses, Bannon is going to be disappointed as to the scope of questioning allowed by the Court.... chalk another one up for the deep state.
 
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lucas80

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Jan 30, 2008
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IIRC Bannon has subpoenaed Pelosi, Schiff, Raskin and other Dem politicians as part of his defense case. In the news clip I saw, he was promising to call them as witnesses and grill them (with Q inspired questions, no doubt). Has the judge ruled on his witness list?

If any Dem congressmen are allowed as defense witnesses, Bannon is going to be disappointed as to the scope of questioning allowed by the Court.... chalk another one up for the deep state.
This case is very straight forward, and I cannot see how any of those people is deposed. The judge is a Trump appointee, but he doesn't seem inclined to let his courtroom turn into a three ring circus.