Steve Bannon appears in court as contempt-of-Congress trial begins

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The Guardian

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and White House strategist, appeared in federal court on Monday as his trial for criminal contempt of Congress, over noncompliance with a subpoena from the House January 6 committee, formally opened in Washington.

The far-right provocateur – one of the principal architects of Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 election – is attempting to argue that he did not willfully fail to comply with the subpoena, which sought documents and testimony.

The DC district court judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, presided over a first day of the trial that was not expected to proceed past the jury selection process, to opening arguments from the government and Bannon’s legal team.

The general standard to qualify a person for the jury appeared to be whether they had in-depth knowledge of Bannon’s contempt of Congress case specifically, after Nichols decided mere knowledge of the January 6 hearings was not enough to exclude people.

Bannon’s legal team had repeatedly sought to delay the trial over supposed concerns that the hearings would taint a jury pool that might have an above-average consumption of news coverage of the Capitol attack or January 6 inquiries.

The majority of potential jurors, however, had limited knowledge of Bannon’s case specifically, and even if they knew Bannon had not complied with a congressional subpoena, they did not know the underlying reasons for his failure to testify or produce documents.

July 19, 2022 at 02:54AM Hugo Lowell in Washington

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