An investigation into former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is expected to begin

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jury selection is set to begin Monday in the trial of former President Donald Trump’s onetime adviser Steve Bannon, who has refused to cooperate with a House committee for months and faces charges of criminal contempt of Congress. January 6, 2021 The Capitol investigates the rebellion.

Bannon was charged in federal court in Washington on Jan. 6 with defying the committee’s subpoena seeking his records and testimony. He was indicted in November In two cases of criminal contempt of Congress, a month after the Justice Department received a congressional referral. Each charge carries a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and a year behind bars.

The case follows a hectic course of proceedings since July 9. A week ago, the former White House strategist notified the panel that he was now ready to testify.. His attorney, Robert Costello, said the change was due to Trump’s withdrawal of his executive privilege claim to prevent testimony.

Bannon, 68, has been the most prominent of Trump-associates to refuse to testify before the panel. He argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

Trump has repeatedly invoked executive authority — even as a former president — to try to block witness testimony and the release of White House documents. The Supreme Court ruled in January Against Trump’s efforts to block cooperation with the National Archives after a lower court judge noted that “presidents are not kings.”

The group noted that Trump fired Bannon from the White House in 2017 and that Bannon was a private citizen when he consulted with the then-president before the riots.

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U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected requests to delay the trial in separate hearings Last week, including Thursday, Bannon’s lawyers raised concerns about a report CNN aired about their client and biased comments they made during a hearing last week by a House committee investigating the riots.

“I know there are current concerns about publicity and bias and whether we can seat a jury that’s appropriate and fair, but as I’ve said before, I believe it’s appropriate to go through the damn process,” Nichols said. Thursday, refers to questioning individual jurors before they are selected. The judge said he wanted a jury that was “appropriate, fair and impartial”.

Even if the judge allowed the trial to move forward, Trump said the letters about waiving his privilege and Bannon’s offer to cooperate with the group could be included in the trial, saying the information was “minimally relevant” to Bannon’s defense. .

Roscoe Howard Jr., a former U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., said Bannon would have a better case if the jury had information about his cooperation offer. Even if it did, it would be a tough argument to say that executive privilege prevented him from cooperating because Bannon refused to respond to the subpoena, Howard said.

“You have to be present to claim the privilege. You can’t phone it in,” he said.

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