WASHINGTON (AP) – Longtime Trump ally Steve Bannon stood before a judge on Monday to face charges of contempt for felony for having withdrawn a congressional subpoena from January 6, and then in a fighting outside court, said he was “fighting the Biden regime “in the fighting. accusations.
Bannon has not filed an application and is due to return to court on Thursday for the next round in what could be the first high-level trial following the January uprising in the US Capitol.
He said that he was fighting outside the court, “committing a crime” against the attorney general, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Biden. He stated: “It will be a hell of a misdemeanor for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden.”
Bannon, 67, surrendered earlier that day to FBI agents. On Friday, he was charged with two federal counts of contempt of business – one for refusing to appear to testify before Congress and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to a committee’s agenda.
Federal Magistrate Judge Robin Meriwether released him without bail, but demanded that he meet weekly with court officials and ordered him to surrender his passport. If convicted, Bannon faces at least 30 days and a maximum of one year behind bars on each count, prosecutors said.
Outside the courthouse, a large inflatable rat that looked like former Republican President Donald Trump stood on the sidewalk while the crowd waited for Bannon to leave. Some in the crowd shouted curses at him and called him a traitor, and one man walked around with a sign: “Clowns are not above the law.”
The indictment came over the fact that a second expected witness, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, withdrew a separate committee agenda on Friday, and Trump intensified his legal battles to cover up documents and testimony about the uprising. Bannon and Meadows are key witnesses to the committee because they were both in close contact with Trump during the January 6th Capitol attack.
If the House of Representatives votes to disrespect Meadows, this recommendation will also be sent to the Justice Department for possible indictment.
Meadows was Trump’s top aide at the end of his presidency and was one of several people who pressured government officials to overturn the 2020 election results, which were won by Democrat Biden. Bannon promoted the January 6 protests on his podcast after predicting “all hell is about to burst out.”
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The committee said Bannon urged Trump to focus on Congressional certification and attended an event at the Willard Hotel on January 5 where Trump allies tried to convince members of Congress to vote against the results.
Bannon’s lawyer David Shen said his client did not show up to Congress because another lawyer told him not to show up after Trump said executive privileges applied.
“Mr. Bannon is a layman. When a privilege was invoked by the alleged owner of the privilege, he has no choice but to withhold the papers. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” he said. “Mister. Bannon acted as advised by his lawyer, without showing up or handing over the documents in this case. He did not refuse to obey. “
Shen also condemned the Justice Department’s decision to prosecute Bannon, arguing that it contradicted Attorney General Garland’s commitment to equal justice under the law.
Both Democratic and Republican officials are subject to contempt by Congress, but criminal charges of contempt are extremely rare.
The indictment against Bannon came after scores of Trump administration officials, including Bannon, ignored requests and demands from Congress over the past five years, with little repercussions, including during an impeachment investigation. President Barack Obama’s administration also declined to indict two of its officials for ignoring congressional demands.
The indictment says Bannon did not communicate with the committee in any way from the time he received the summons on September 24 until October 7, when his lawyer mailed the letter seven hours after the documents were due to be presented.
Bannon, who worked in the White House during the early Trump administration and is currently the host of the conspiracy-focused War Room podcast, is a private individual who “refused to appear to testify as required by the subpoena,” in the indictment it says.