July date set for Steve Bannon's contempt of Congress trial

Bannon was charged following his failure to comply with the select committee to investigate January 6
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Steve Bannon 2017
Steve Bannon 2017
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A July 18 start date has been set for the trial of Steven Bannon, former adviser to Donald Trump, who has been charged with contempt of Congress. 

Bannon had attempted to push the start date to mid-October of 2022, possibly to gin up headlines as the country headed into the midterm election. The July start date, however, will still place the trial squarely in the center of midterm campaigns.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols told Bannon "It seems to me you don't need 10 months to do this," while also denying the Justice Department its mid-April start date. The judge has reserved two weeks for the trial. 

Bannon was charged after the House took a vote to hold him in contempt for his failure to cooperate with the select committee to investigate Jan. 6. 

In addition to the start date, Justice and Bannon's defense team continue to go back and forth about what evidence from the government Bannon should be able to make public.

The government has proposed a protective order to restrict public disclosure of evidence it turns over to Bannon in the lead up to the trial. Bannon says such an order would stifle his defense preparations.

The government fears Bannon will attempt to "abuse criminal discovery to try this case in the media rather than in court." 

David Schoen, an attorney for Bannon, says, "The committee's discussions about Mr. Bannon's subpoena" are "the business of the public."

Several news media organizations, including CNN, ABC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CBS, NBC and Buzzfeed, have challenged the proposed protective order as well. 

Nichols did not issue a decision about the protective order, but reportedly sounded skeptical of Bannon's arguments.