Steve Bannon asks to delay his contempt trial due to the ‘media blitz’ by the January 6 committee
Steve Bannon asks for his disdain for Congressional process to be postponed over January 6 committee ‘media blitz’ that ‘have a lot in common with scripted TV’
- Former Donald Trump aide Steven Bannon demands his contempt of Congress trial be postponed until after October 2022
- Lawyers claim the ‘media blitz’ surrounding the January 6 hearings could influence the outcome of his trial
- Filing alleges that the panel “scheduled its first public hearing during prime time…to maximize public impact in presenting alleged research findings”
- The select committee of January 6 has held six trials so far
- Hired a former ABC News executive to produce the televised proceeding
Steven Bannon is demanding his contempt trial for Congress be delayed beyond October 2022 due to the ‘media blitz’ surrounding the January 6 hearings that he says will affect the outcome of his case
Steve Bannon claims the “media blitz” sparked by the select committee’s Jan. 6 hearings is reason to delay his disdain for the Congressional process.
The request to move the trial to after October 15, 2022 was filed on Wednesday, claiming it would be “impossible” at this point to ensure a fair trial during the January 6 public hearings.
“It would be impossible to guarantee Mr. Bannon a fair trial amid much publicized Select Committee hearings that claim to be broadcasting ‘investigative findings’ on subjects referred to in the Indictment,” the filing said.
It continues: “Under the circumstances, we believe it would be improper to deny a requested continuation where congressional hearings create harmful pre-trial publicity – as recognized by the government and found to be justifiable.” to continue a trial in another pending case in this district.”
Bannon’s lawyers say the timetable was initially “aggressive” given 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 the trial was scheduled, neither the Court nor the parties were aware of the June and next July media blitz by the Jan. 6 Select Committee to Investigate the Attack on the United States Capitol,” the filing said.
It also claims: ‘The Select Committee has hired a television director to produce maximum public impact. In addition, the Select Committee has scheduled its first public hearing during prime time — again, to maximize public impact when presenting alleged “investigative findings.”
As described by one culture critic, the Select Committee hearings have ‘much in common with TV miniseries: narrative, montage—even startling revelations’ and ‘their attention to content and style, combining their persecution with an awareness of what the stimulates the viewers’ curiosity and keeps them talking afterwards.’
The Jan. 6 select committee has so far filed six lawsuits and hired a former executive of ABC News to produce the televised proceedings. Bannon’s lawyers accuse the panel of “scheduling its first public hearing during prime time — again, to maximize public impact when presenting alleged investigation results.”
Bannon’s trial was initially scheduled for July 18, 2022, which is when the panel plans to resume their hearings when the House returns from its recess.
The charges against Bannon were filed on Nov. 12, 2021 after he refused to comply with a Jan. 6 select committee subpoena to testify about the events of the Capitol riot. He lost an appeal in April 2022 for failing to appear before the panel.
Bannon was chief executive of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and served as chief strategist and senior adviser to the president once in office.
Just seven months after Trump’s inauguration, Bannon left office and rejoined far-right media outlet Breitbart, which he co-founded with Larry Solov.
Trump dismissed Bannon in January 2018 after critical comments came to light in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.
The January 6 select committee has held six hearings so far — the latest on Tuesday was a surprise last-minute supplemental hearing scheduled after Mark Meadows’ former top assistant Cassidy Hutchinson agreed to testify publicly.
More hearings will resume in mid-July when the House is back in session, Speaker Bennie Thompson announced this month.