Stephen K. Bannon filed a motion to reopen his trial last month after being found guilty for contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena issued by the House Jan. 6, committee.
The former Trump advisor’s legal team claims that the court granted a motion of the prosecution, which they claim prevented Bannon from standing by himself.
Bannon hoped to communicate to the jury his frustration with former President Donald Trump’s executive privilege claims and to show that he had followed the counsel’s advice by not giving over any documents or appearing before the committee.
” The Court’s order was to prohibit Mr. Bannon, from giving evidence or arguments whatsoever about the reasons he replied to the subpoena. This is what lawyers Evan Corcoran (and David Schoen) wrote in the Friday motion.
After receiving the subpoena last fall from the committee, Bannon’s attorney, Robert Costello, claimed in a series letters to Jan. 6, committee, that the requested testimony and documents were covered by Mr. Trump’s executive privilege claims. These were later the subject of litigation.
Mr. Costello claimed that Bannon couldn’t unilaterally waive Mr. Trump’s privilege to appear before this committee.
These arguments were rejected and the prosecution, in an attempt to stop Bannon from being tried for contempt, argued that Bannon’s “erroneous dependence on privileges” and the purported advice given by counsel was no defense against the trial. .”
” The deliberate failure to obey a congressional subpoena, regardless of its motivation, is a crime of contempt,” said the prosecution.
U.S. District judge Carl Nichols approved the prosecution’s motion for Bannon to be barred from following counsel’s advice, as it was not within the scope of the evidence required by the government to find Bannon guilty of contempt.
Bannon lawyers claimed that the ruling was in effect a double standard.
“Mr. “Mr. The government could argue that Mr. Bannon’s response was because he believed he was above law
” How can it be possible to stop Bannon explaining his reasons and prohibit the jury from considering them, but let the Government present a reason that it knew was false,” he said.
The government summoned only two witnesses to the trial that lasted a week to present what it described as a simple case in which Bannon refused to turn over documents to the committee.
The prosecution claimed that Bannon behaved as though he was “above law” by refusing to obey the subpoena.
” The defense wants to make it difficult, complicated, and confusing,” Amanda Vaugh, Assistant U.S. attorney, told the jury in her closing remarks. This isn’t difficult. He refused to obey. Because he did not want to .”
comply, he made the conscious decision to refuse to comply.
Mr. Schoen denied that Bannon behaved as though he was above the law and stated that his client tried to cooperate with the committee in reaching an agreement for documents to be handed over and to testify.
” From the very first conversation his lawyer had with Bannon in response to the subpoena, he stated that Bannon would comply fully if executive privilege was worked out or if he went before a judge during a civil enforcement proceeding. The judge decided privilege wasn’t applicable or so wide etc.” he added. According to the lawyer, Bannon knew that the lawyer was allowing him to respond in only one way. This is completely different from believing that he was above the law .”
Bannon refused to give evidence during his defense, citing his inability “to tell the truth” to jurors.
Mr. Schoen stated during proceedings that Bannon understood that he had the right to testify for himself and that his client “very much desired to” since the time he was arrested .”
” Even though he was forbidden from telling the jury his innocence and reasons why he answered as he did, – purportedly, because the reasons for noncompliance were not relevant as a matter law, the Court still allowed the Government to present its fake, concocted grounds for Mr. Bannon’s failure to comply” the defense stated in its motion to retry.
In addition to the Judge’s decision tying up the defense’s hands, the defense team claimed that the refusal of members from the House Committee to testify at the trial had “badly stymied their legal defense.”
Bannon’s attorneys subpoenaed members from the committee to testify last month in his case. However, the court decided before the trial that the legislature could not be compelled to testify.
Friday’s defense team moved separately for either dismissal of the indictment or exclusion of the Congressional evidence due to the refusal by the legislators to appear.
” The subpoena receivers’ invocations of privilege and Court’s Order Quashing the Subpoenas denied Mr. Bannon’s constitutional rights under Fifth and Sixth Amendments including his right for due process, compulsory process, his legal right of confrontation, and his right, to effective assistance and a fair trial,” Mr. Schoen argued.
The week-long trial concluded last month, with the jury returning its guilty verdict in less than three hours.
Mr. Schoen said to reporters that he was planning to appeal the decision to “bulletproof”.
” That is not the way our criminal justice system was intended to function,” he stated Monday.
Criminal Contempt of Congress (or a misdemeanor) is an offense. Bannon could spend 30 months in prison, and up to two years. October is the scheduled date for a sentencing hearing. 21.