Former Trump White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seeking a postponement of his trial scheduled next month in the contempt charges the Justice Department brought against him last year for failing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 Select Committee’s investigation, citing the publicity that the panel’s public hearings this month have generated.
In a court filing Wednesday, Bannon’s attorneys are asking that his criminal trial be delayed until at least October, arguing that the committee’s public hearings would make it impossible for their client to have a fair trial with an impartial jury.
“Select Committee members have made inflammatory remarks about the culpability of President Trump and his closest advisers, including Mr. Bannon, and have broadcast to millions of people their purported ‘findings’ on issues that may prejudice the minds of jurors in this case,” Bannon attorneys Evan Corcoran, David Schoen and Robert Costello wrote.
“Those broadcasts have been repackaged and re-broadcast in countless forms, creating a saturation of the information sources available to Washington, D.C. residents. Under the circumstances, a continuance is warranted — to allow the effects of the Select Committee hearing coverage a chance to subside,” Bannon’s attorneys continued.
The filing noted references to Bannon during the committee’s public hearing on Tuesday that featured Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. During Tuesday’s hearing, the panel drew attention to Bannon’s meeting on Jan. 5, 2021 with advisers to then-President Trump at the Willard Hotel, which served as a “war room” in their efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election.
Additionally, the filing pointed to a four-month delay in the seditious conspiracy trial of leaders of the Proud Boys, citing the “prejudicial publicity” of the extremist group during the committee’s public hearings.
“The prejudicial publicity stemming from ongoing congressional Select Committee hearings has already been recognized by a judge in this district as good cause for a trial continuance – where, as here, a defendant was mentioned by name and depicted in a video presentation during a Select Committee hearing,” Bannon’s attorneys wrote. “The Government acknowledged the same when it consented to the defense motion for continuance in United States v. Ethan Nordean et al.”
The latest filing by Bannon’s lawyers comes after an effort earlier this month to fight the contempt charges he’s facing by issuing subpoenas to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and members of the committee. Bannon’s legal team are reportedly seeking to challenge the legitimacy of the committee and the panel’s motives for targeting him. Bannon has claimed executive privilege in refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoena, similar to other Trump allies in Congress and the former president’s administration who have defied the panel.
Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress last year for refusing to comply with the committee’s subpoena. He pleaded not guilty.