Steve Bannon loses bid to slow roll contempt of Congress case

Judge rejects request to delay next hearing

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 18 November 2021 22:15
Steve Bannon surrenders to the FBI

A judge in Steve Bannon’s criminal contempt of Congress case has rejected an attempt by his counsel to delay further hearings in the case until next year.

Mr Bannon refused to appear before the House select committee investigating the 6 January riots, and surrendered to the FBI before a first court appearance on Monday.

Lawyers for Donald Trump’s former adviser argued the case presents “complex constitutional issues” and that it would require some time to prepare their defence during a scheduling hearing on Thursday.

Prosecutor Amanda Vaughn argued that the case was relatively straightforward and involved only around 200 documents, most of which are correspondence between Mr Bannon and the 6 January select committee.

“In our view, this is a very straightforward case about whether or not the defendant showed up,” Ms Vaughn said, while pressing for a quick trial.

Defence attorney Evan Corcoran argued he would need time to obtain documents from lawmakers.

“The government has described this as a simple case with only 200 documents, but I think it’s an oversimplification.”

He also told the judge they didn’t want to “cut in line” ahead of the hundreds of rioters who have been charged with illegally entering the US Capitol.

US District Court Judge Carl Nichols denied a request from the defence to reconvene in January, and set a date of 7 December for the next hearing.

He was non-committal to the timetables suggested by the prosecutor or defence attorneys, and said he would need more information to make a decision when a full trial would be held.

“I’m not convinced that I have quite enough before me to decide,” he said, in remarks reported by Politico.

The judge said Mr Bannon’s case would not cause delays to other defendants, many of whom are in prison awaiting their day in court.

Mr Bannon is charged with refusing to testify and failing to deliver documents to the select committee. Each count has a maximum prison sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

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