U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols told a jury at Steve Bannon's contempt trial Wednesday afternoon that claims of executive privilege by former President Donald Trump are "irrelevant." Bannon has said that he refused the committee's subpoena because Trump claimed to have "executive privilege."
Nichols instructed the jury that executive privilege and an offer to later cooperate were not legitimate defenses for contempt of Congress.
“Mr. Bannon’s belief that questions around executive privilege excused him from complying with the subpoena are irrelevant in this case. In addition… whether or not in the future Mr. Bannon complies with the subpoena is irrelevant," Nichols said, according to WUSA reporter Jordan Fischer.
Bannon is facing two counts of contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6th Committee. While exiting the courtroom Tuesday, he stopped to speak with reporters and repeated the big lie that the 2020 election had been stolen and then threatened President Biden’s legitimacy. Watch below.
With his trial racing towards a verdict, Steve Bannon is floundering inside and outside of the courtroom | RawStory.TVWith his trial racing towards a verdict, Steve Bannon is floundering inside and outside of the courtroom | RawStory.TV
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols was appointed by former president Trump. Prior to warning that Bannon’s claims for executive privilege were illegitimate he also warned "I do not intend for this to become a political case, a political circus, a forum for partisan politics." It does not appear that Bannon has taken any of Judge Nichols' warnings seriously.
Federal prosecutors rested their case Wednesday and the defense team will begin on Thursday. Depending on how many witnesses, if any, are called to testify, the case could head to jury deliberations by the afternoon. It is unknown if Bannon will testify. If he's convicted on the misdemeanor contempt charges, he faces the prospect of jail time.