Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon wants his contempt of Congress trial to be delayed in light of the “media blitz” surrounding the House Jan. 6 committee’s public hearings.
In a court motion filed Wednesday, Mr. Bannon said the fanfare infringes on his right to a fair trial unblemished by outside findings and presuppositions formed from the public hearings.
“It would be impossible to guarantee Mr. Bannon a fair trial in the middle of much publicized Select Committee hearings which purport to broadcast investigative ‘findings’ on topics that are referenced in the Indictment,” the filing states.
“The media saturation in June and the upcoming hearings in July — right before trial — warrants a continuance,” the filing states.
Mr. Bannon’s trial, which was scheduled in January, is set to begin July 18.
The committee has held six hearings this month in which it began publicly unpacking its findings after its nearly yearlong investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
“Public impact is not limited to the hearings themselves, but to the media coverage that magnified the hearings,” the Bannon filing states. “In Washington, DC, where the trial will take place — and where the acts alleged in the Indictment took place — every major media outlet treated the hearings as a top news story.”
The filing also points out that several of the findings produced by the committee in the hearings specifically referenced Mr. Bannon and matters material to his case without allowing him to respond.
“Every person accused of a crime is guaranteed a fair trial under the U.S. Constitution,” the motion reads. “This requires that a verdict be based on evidence presented at trial, not on ‘evidence’ or ‘findings’ presented in congressional hearings, or on the preconceptions of jurors. In addition, a fair trial requires that the accused be allowed to confront the witnesses against him or her.”
Mr. Bannon was indicted in November on criminal contempt of Congress charges for defying the committee’s subpoena.
He says the charges against him are politically motivated and the committee has conflicts of interest. He has pleaded not guilty.