Steve Bannon asks to delay his contempt of Congress trial because of the ‘media blitz’ by the January 6 committee that ‘have a lot in common with scripted TV’
- Former Donald Trump aide Steven Bannon is demanding his contempt of Congress trial be delayed until after October 2022
- Lawyers claim that the ‘media blitz’ surrounding the January 6 hearings could impact the outcome of his trial
- Filing claims the panel ‘scheduled its initial public hearing during prime time… to maximize public impact when presenting purported investigative ‘findings”
- The January 6 select committee has held six trials so far
- Hired a former ABC News executive to produce the televised proceedings
Steven Bannon is demanding his contempt of Congress trial be delayed until after October 2022 due to the ‘media blitz’ surrounding the January 6 hearings that he claims will impact the outcome of his case
Steve Bannon claims that the ‘media blitz’ created by the January 6 select committee hearings are grounds for his contempt of Congress trial to be delayed.
The request to reschedule the trial for after October 15, 2022 was filed Wednesday and claims at this time it would be ‘impossible to guarantee’ fair proceedings during the public January 6 hearings.
‘It would be impossible to guarantee Mr. Bannon a fair trial in the middle of much-publicized Select Committee hearings which purport to broadcast investigative ‘findings’ on topics that are referenced in the Indictment,’ the filing states.
It continues: ‘Under the circumstances, we believe that it would be erroneous to deny a requested continuance when congressional hearings create prejudicial pretrial publicity – as has been acknowledged by the Government and found to constitute good cause for a trial continuance in another pending case in this district.’
Bannon’s lawyers claim that the schedule was initially ‘aggressive’ considering the ‘complex legal issues involved’ in the case.
They now claim matters are further complicated by the ‘media blitz’ surrounding the proceedings and the fact that the nine-member panel hired a former ABC News executive to produce the public and televised events.
‘When trial was scheduled, neither the Court nor the parties were aware of the June and upcoming July media blitz by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol,’ the filing states.
It also claims: ‘The Select Committee hired a television executive to produce maximum public impact. In addition, the Select Committee scheduled its initial public hearing during prime time – again, to maximize public impact when presenting purported investigative ‘findings.”
‘As described by a cultural critic, the Select Committee hearings ‘have a lot in common with scripted TV mini-series: narrative, editing — even surprise reveals’ and ‘their attention to substance and style, combining their prosecutorial case with a consciousness of what piques viewers’ curiosity and keeps people talking afterward.’
The January 6 select committee has held six trials so far and hired a former ABC News executive to produce the televised proceedings. Bannon’s lawyers accuse the panel of ‘scheduling its initial public hearing during prime time – again, to maximize public impact when presenting purported investigative ‘findings”
Bannon’s trial was initially scheduled for July 18, 2022, which is when the panel plans to pick back up their hearings when the House returns from its recess.
The indictment against Bannon was filed November 12, 2021 after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the January 6 select committee to testify on the events of the Capitol riot. He lost an appeal in April 2022 for failure to appear before the panel.
Bannon was chief executive of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and was chief strategist and senior counselor to the president once he was elected to office.
Just seven months after Trump’s inauguration, Bannon left his post and rejoined far-right media outlet Breitbart, which he co-founded with Larry Solov.
Trump disavowed Bannon in January 2018 after critical comments came to light in the book Fire and Fury by Michael Wolff.
The January 6 select committee has held six hearings so far – the last on Tuesday was a surprise last-minute add-on hearing that was scheduled after Mark Meadows’ former top aide Cassidy Hutchinson agreed to testify publicly.
More hearings will resume in mid-July when the House is back in session, Chairman Bennie Thompson announced this month.