Judge sets start date for contempt trial of former Trump aide Steve Bannon

A one-time adviser to former President Donald Trump will soon learn his fate in court.

According to Fox News, Steve Bannon will go on trial after a jury is selected on July 18.

He is being charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

DOJ moves forward with prosecution

The congressional panel consists of Democratic lawmakers along with two anti-Trump Republicans. Members subpoenaed Bannon because of his proximity to the then-president around the time of the riot.

Bannon refused to comply and cited Trump’s assertion of executive privilege as a justification. The committee subsequently voted to hold him in contempt, which is a criminal charge.

Just as importantly, the Department of Justice opted to prosecute the former Trump adviser. U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols confirmed the date for that trial to commence in an announcement this week.

Biden issued a statement earlier this year asserting that anyone who defies the House committee should be prosecuted. While the Justice Department has asserted that it is acting independently of the president, its decision to prosecute Bannon is fueling speculation that the president has influenced federal prosecutors.

“That’s why we need discovery and time”

The Justice Department had proposed fast-tracking Bannon’s case and wanted to begin in April while the defense team petitioned for an October start date. The judge reportedly picked July 18 as a compromise.

Bannon’s attorney is disputing the decision, however, insisting that it will not provide enough time to properly prepare for the high-profile trial.

“President Biden called for the prosecution of Mr. Bannon,” Doug Schoen said, according to Fox. “What kind of influence, if any, does that cause? That’s why we need discovery and time.”

Meanwhile, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is reportedly moving forward with a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 committee and requests that all subpoenas be invalidated. It is unclear how a favorable outcome in his case might impact Bannon’s trial, if at all.

Bannon was indicted last month on two counts of contempt and pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine on each count.

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