Former Trump aide Steve Bannon believed he was “above the law” when he outlined a subpoena to testify earlier than lawmakers investigating the 2021 Capitol assault, a US prosecutor stated Tuesday as arguments started in his federal trial for contempt of Congress.
Bannon, who led Donald Trump’s profitable 2016 presidential election marketing campaign, was amongst dozens of individuals known as by a House of Representatives committee to testify in regards to the storming of Congress by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.
The 68-year-old didn’t seem on the summons date or present requested paperwork associated to the assault and occasions main as much as it, and was indicted on two fees of contempt.
“The defendant decided he was above the law,” stated prosecutor Amanda Vaughn in her opening assertion to the panel of 12 jurors and two alternates chosen on Tuesday at a courthouse in Washington. “And that’s why we’re here today.”
“He ignored orders to comply, even after Congress had rejected his excuses not to, and he put aside multiple warnings that he could face criminal prosecution,” she stated.
Bannon’s lawyer Evan Corcoran denied that his consumer had ignored the subpoena, saying the date was “the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiation” and “flexible,” noting this was typical process for the House committee.
According to the panel, Bannon spoke to Trump the day earlier than 1000’s of the previous president’s supporters barged into the Capitol in an effort to dam the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
They had been egged on by Trump in a fiery speech close to the White House, throughout which he repeated his false claims of election fraud.
Corcoran stated the choice to carry Bannon in contempt was politically motivated, saying “politics is the lifeblood of the US House of Representatives” and it “invades every decision that they make.”
Vaughn stated the committee had trigger to imagine Bannon and different Trump advisors might have info on hyperlinks between the White House and the rioters.
After refusing to testify for months, Bannon lastly agreed this month to cooperate with the House investigation, a transfer prosecutors stated beforehand was a “last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.”
Bannon’s attorneys had sought to delay the beginning of the trial however US District Court Judge Carl Nichols denied the movement.
Prosecutors known as their first witness, committee deputy workers director and chief counsel Kristin Amerling, close to the tip of the session.
Bannon, who served as Trump’s technique chief on the White House earlier than being sacked in 2017, might serve 30 days to a yr in jail for every of the 2 counts if discovered responsible in what is predicted to be a speedy trial.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)