WASHINGTON — A judge on Thursday once again refused to delay Steve Bannon’s trial on charges of contempt of Congress, which is set to get underway Monday.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said he was “hopeful” they court be able to find a jury that hadn’t been paying close attention to the Jan. 6 committee hearings and didn't know much about Bannon so it could fairly decide the case.
Bannon’s lawyers had once again argued that there was too much pretrial publicity about the case. Their latest motion cited a CNN documentary that is supposed to air Sunday night.
"We're still going to be at trial on Monday," Nichols said.
Bannon was indicted last year after he refused to answer questions from the House Jan. 6 committee.
Nichols previously ruled against delaying the trial, despite Bannon's apparent change of heart last weekend about testifying, which the Justice Department dismissed as a "last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability." Bannon's lawyer attributed his client's new willingness to cooperate with the Jan. 6 investigation to a letter from former President Donald Trump that waived a purported claim of executive privilege.
Nichols had ruled largely against Bannon in a series of pretrial motions Monday, including knocking out several potential defenses his team had raised. At the end of the hearing, Bannon lawyer David Schoen said, “What is the point of going to trial here if there are no defenses?”
Bannon's lawyers again asked to delay the trial in a motion Wednesday, citing the coming CNN documentary, as well as references to Bannon, a former Trump strategist, in the televised Jan. 6 committee hearing that aired Tuesday.
In his ruling Thursday, Nichols noted Bannon's ongoing objection to moving forward with the trial and said he would allow Bannon’s team to continue making a record about their objections for the appeals court.
Bannon was not in the courtroom Thursday.