Jury decision in Bannon trail expected before weekend

Bannon is on trial in federal court on contempt changes for having not complied with two subpoenas by Democrat-led Jan. 6 panel

Updated: July 22, 2022 - 9:54am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Closing arguments in the contempt of Congress trial for former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon are expected to conclude by early Friday afternoon, with a possible jury decision before the weekend.

Bannon is on trial in a Washington, D.C., federal court on contempt changes for having not complied with two subpoenas issued by the Democrat-led Jan. 6 committee – one to provide a deposition and another to turn over documents related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

The Defense team is expected to conclude closing arguments early Friday morning and will be followed by Justice Department prosecutors and their closing arguments. 

Defense lawyers have argued from the start of the case on Tuesday that Bannon was negotiating with the committee about complying with two subpoenas when he was forced into court.

Their argument essentially focused on the dates of the subpoenas and whether they had been finalized. The lawyers did not calling any witnesses when presenting their case.

However, in closing arguments, they argued Bannon has been denied his constitutional rights in the trial by not being allowed to call to the witness stand House Democrats connected to the committee, including Chairmen Bennie Thompson. 

"What does Mr. Thompson’s testimony tell us about Bannon’s mens rea," or knowledge of wrongdoing," U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said in response to the request.

Justice Department lawyers have thus far argued Bannon knew about the deadlines to comply with the subpoenas and willingly ignore them.

They also called two witnesses, an attorney for the committee and an FBI agent, to answer questions about the case to prove their argument.

Bannon was indicted in November on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress, a month after the department received the House committee's referral.

Each count carries a minimum of 30 days of jail and as long as a year behind bars upon conviction, according to the Associated Press. The jury is made up of 12 jurors and two alternates.

In a departure from House norms, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last year rejected two of the five House Republican picks for the panel, prompting House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to pull all five of his party's choices from the committee. Pelosi then handpicked two anti-Trump Republicans to join the seven Democrats on the committee.

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