Former top Trump political adviser Steve Bannon has filed a motion to oppose a federal court’s standard order protecting the privacy of documents and other materials during the discovery phase of his contempt-of-Congress case.
Normally, U.S. district courts issue standard protective orders that forbid either side from publicly disclosing documents or evidence in cases, but Bannon is asking that the order be lifted in his case to documents can be viewed in the open.
Last week, Bannon, 67, pleaded not guilty to the contempt-of-Congress charge. Previously, his defense team argued that agreeing to the prosecutors’ protect order during discovery would complicate his case, the Washinton Post reported.
Amanda R. Vaughn, an assistant U.S. attorney, said that there are “less than 20 documents” that would need to be provided. However, Bannon’s attorney, Ryan Corcoran, told reporters that the defense team was probably going to have to find more witnesses and documents.
The former Trump adviser’s attorneys have also argued that the federal government has provided little in the way of why the documents should be withheld from the public. In addition, they have said that many if not most of the documents sequestered by the protective order have, in this case, already been made public.
“The Government offered no reason why it wanted to limit Mr. Bannon’s attorneys in their use of the documents to prepare a defense,” Bannon’s statement continued.
The Justice Department sought an indictment from a federal grand jury after Bannon refused to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee to provide testimony regarding his activities before the assault on the Capitol Building.
Specifically, the committee wants to ask Bannon about activities at the Willard Hotel the week before the riot.
Bannon, acting on instructions from former President Donald Trump, cited executive privilege as his reasoning for refusing to honor the subpoena.
Bannon turned himself in earlier this month after the grand jury returned an indictment.
“Flanked by a man holding a ‘coup plotter’ sign as he entered into federal custody on Monday, Bannon briefly spoke to supporters on a livestream on the right-wing Gettr platform,” The Hill reported at the time.
Bannon, a popular podcaster, told Gettr viewers, “I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message. Remember signal, not noise. I don’t want anybody to take your eye off the ball of what we do every day.”
He also made a statement following his court appearance.
“I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden. … We’re going on the offense,” said Bannon, in reference to the U.S. attorney general and Speaker of the House, as he left the courtroom.
“They took on the wrong guy this time; they took on the wrong guys,” he noted further.
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