July 12, 2022
The Justice Department has informed a federal judge that Steve Bannon’s last-minute offer to testify to the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol will not enable the former strategist for then-President Donald Trump to avoid trial for defying the committee’s subpoena seeking testimony and documents, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Bannon told the committee over the weekend that he was willing to testify—preferably at a public hearing. His trial is set to begin July 18 on two counts of criminal contempt.
He initially refused to comply with the subpoena from the January 6 committee last October. “The Defendant’s last-minute efforts to testify, almost nine months after his default—he has still made no effort to produce records—are irrelevant to whether he willfully refused to comply in October 2021 with the Select Committee’s subpoena,” prosecutors said in a filing on Monday, July 11.
The government’s filing sought to block Bannon’s defense team from telling jurors about his last-minute willingness to testify.
Bannon said he was now willing to testify after Trump said he would waive any privilege claim—citing what the former president called unfair treatment of his former senior aide.
Prosecutors said that Trump “never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials,” and that Mr. Bannon’s privilege claim never justified total noncompliance with the subpoena.
The prosecutors’ filing came ahead of a court hearing Monday, which had been previously scheduled to discuss a request by Bannon to delay his trial until October and other issues in the case. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, is overseeing the case in Washington, D.C.
Bannon’s lawyers have argued that news coverage of the committee’s hearings could taint the jury pool and deprive him of a fair trial.
“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’s lawyers wrote in a June 29 court filing.
Research contact: @WSJ