It was a short two day case, and as predicted the government didn’t need to put on any show trial or major event. They showed that Bannon clearly defied the subpoenas he was given and felt he was above the law and didn’t have to comply. Hey, short and sweet, and I assume the jury finding him guilty will be just as short and just as sweet. Unless of course they have a ringer on the jury like they did with Paul Manafort. But, absent any ringers placed on the jury Bannon will surely be found guilty. The sentencing part will of course come later, probably a few months or more. Bannon will of course claim “HE DID NOTHING WRONG!!!” because that’s what those lunatic leaders say. They always claim they did nothing wrong.
At any rate, Bannon’s defense team will continue to try and paint any witnesses into some malfeasance corner, oh they knew some guy or some woman that they ate lunch with, and maybe they talked about the political issues of the day, and so that should taint the whole subpoena and contempt case because ya know, people actually talked about things at lunch, and oh they must somehow be connected to some conspiracy — even if its 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon or some such thing.
Hey, where is the medieval stuff that Bannon promised? I mean hey, I was all geared up looking for some Medieval Times stuff with Bannon and the court.
Sadly I guess Bannon was just full of shit. Nothing medieval has happened, and so far it looks like a cut and dried case in Night Court…
WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors rested their contempt case against Steve Bannon Wednesday after testimony from just two witnesses, including the chief counsel of the House committee investigating the Capitol attack, who told the jury the former Trump aide was repeatedly warned that he faced possible criminal prosecution for defying the panel’s requests for documents and testimony.
Kristin Amerling said Bannon’s attorney only notified the committee after a deadline had passed for the production of a trove of documents that he believed to be exempted from complying because former President Donald Trump had intended to invoke executive privilege.
“The select committee’s position was this was not a valid rationale for refusing to comply,” Amerling said, referring to Oct. 8, 2021, correspondence with Bannon attorney Robert Costello.
The committee counsel said Costello was informed that the panel was “obligated to view (Bannon’s) failure to comply as willful noncompliance with the criminal contempt statute.”
Earlier this month, the Justice Department revealed in court documents that Trump’s attorney never said that the former president intended to invoke executive privilege that would shield Bannon from the committee. In January, the Supreme Court also rejected Trump’s attempts to shield documents from the committee citing executive privilege.
Until Costello’s October communication with the committee, Amerling said Bannon made no contact seeking an extension of time to comply or suggesting that he had no relevant documents to share.
“Did the committee get anything more than radio silence by 10 in the morning on Oct. 7?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Vaughn asked the witness, referring to the document deadline.whit
“No,” Amerling said, adding that Bannon also did not appear for the scheduled Oct. 14 deposition.
The witness was ultimately notified the committee had voted to hold Bannon in contempt on Oct. 19, prompting a subsequent referral to the Justice Department for prosecution after a full House vote two days later.
When asked whether Bannon had made any additional contact following the notification, Amerling said, “I didn’t hear anything from him.”
In cross-examination, Bannon attorney Evan Corcoran closely questioned the witness about possible political considerations related to the House committee’s pursuit of Bannon. At one point, he appeared to suggest that Congress was operating on a timeline driven by lawmakers’ personal interests when he asked about the scheduling of document production and the deposition, asking whether members of Congress were directly involved in setting the deadlines.
Amerling said the urgency of the investigation dictated that the committee move to obtain information “as expeditiously as possible.”
Corcoran later turned to Amerling’s own longtime work for Democratic lawmakers, and familiarity with a member of the prosecution team, Assistant U.S. Attorney Molly Gaston.
Amerling testified that he had known Gaston for about 15 years when they overlapped as staffers for former Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. More recently, she said the two have been members of the same book club whose members include a number of former Waxman staffers.
“Do you ever discuss the politics of the day?” Corcoran asked.
“To best of my recollection, the conversations cover a whole variety of topics,” Amerling said. Given the members’ careers, she said it was “not unusual to talk about politics in some way or another.”
Vaughn later challenged the suggestion that Amerling and other committee members were driven by politics, asking whether the staffer worked only for the benefit of Democratic members.
Amerling said the staff supported the mission of the entire committee, including its two Republican members.
Corcoran also pressed the witness on why the committee had not sought to resolve Bannon’s executive privilege claim, short of pursuing a contempt resolution.
Amerling said the committee had never received such notice from Trump.
“There hadn’t been an assertion – formal or informal – of executive privilege,” Amerling said.
Bannon’s team, however, was handed a potentially helpful ruling when U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols allowed the jury to see recent correspondence in which Bannon notified the committee in the days before the trial that he would be open to providing testimony at a public hearing.
Amerling acknowledged receipt of the notice from Bannon’s lawyer and a separate July 9 letter to Bannon’s lawyer from Trump in which the former president indicated that he was willing to waive executive privilege, allowing his former aide to testify.
Under questioning from Vaughn, the committee staffer said the recent correspondence did not change the fact that he had repeatedly defied the earlier subpoena request and his new desire to testify did not absolve him from the contempt.
Prosecutors asserted that Bannon never intended to comply with the committee’s demand, presenting testimony from its only other witness, FBI special agent Stephen Hart, who said the defendant’s postings on a GETTR social media account included news articles reporting his intent to defy the committee, beginning shortly after the subpoena was issued Sept. 23, 2021.
Ketchup, regrets, blood and anger: A guide to the Jan. 6 hearings’ witnesses and testimony
Amerling’s testimony came after federal prosecutors opened their case Tuesday, arguing that Bannon had “decided he was above the law” when he defied the subpoena from the committee.
“It wasn’t an accident; it wasn’t a mistake,” Vaughn told the jury. “It was a decision; it was a choice.
“This case is about the defendant thumbing his nose at the orderly process of our government. It is that simple,” Vaughn said.
Bannon’s attorneys continued to claim that Bannon did nothing wrong, arguing that the case has been driven by politics.
“This is Steve Bannon, and he is innocent of the charges,” Corcoran told the jury Tuesday.
What did Trump do on Jan. 6?: On Jan. 6, Trump was out of public view as aides urged him to act. A breakdown of those 187 minutes.
“Politics is the lifeblood of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Corcoran said. “Politics invades every decision that they make. It’s the currency of Congress.”
Corcoran denied that Bannon ignored the subpoena, arguing that there was no set time for Bannon to appear for a deposition and provide documents as his attorneys and the committee engaged in negotiations.
“No one ignored the subpoena,” Corcoran said. “Quite the contrary, there was direct engagement (with the committee). The evidence will be crystal clear. No one expected that Steve Bannon would appear… There will be no evidence that anyone ordered Steve Bannon to do anything.”
Who is testifying before Jan. 6 committee Thursday?: Former Trump aides Matthew Pottinger, Sarah Matthews expected to testify at Jan. 6 hearing
In her testimony Tuesday and Wednesday, Amerling, directly challenged the defense claims.
In her role as counsel, Amerling said she was personally involved in advising the committee related to the Bannon subpoena.
Amerling said the committee had established specific deadlines for Bannon’s compliance to produce documents by Oct. 7, 2021, and appear for a deposition on Oct. 14.
Asked whether Bannon had satisfied those demands, Amerling told the prosecutor: “He did not.”
Bannon faces two counts of contempt, one for his refusal to appear for the deposition and another involving his failure to produce documents.
Each count could carry a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a maximum fine of $100,000.