Bannon to plead not guilty to contempt of Congress charges

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Former top Trump adviser Steve Bannon filed a motion on Wednesday to plead not guilty to contempt of Congress charges and waived his right to an arraignment. Bannon was indicted last week by a grand jury on two counts of contempt of Congress after he did not appear for a scheduled deposition before the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In the filing, Bannon said he “freely and voluntarily” waives his “right to an arraignment on the indictment and my right to have it read to me in open court.”

Bannon’s court appearance had been scheduled for Thursday morning before U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, who will oversee his case and any potential trial. Bannon turned himself in on Monday and livestreamed himself for supporters outside the courthouse. He told supporters to “stand up against the Biden regime” and warned his followers not to “focus on the noise.” 

Bannon is being represented by David Schoen, an Alabama-based attorney who was a member of former President Trump’s legal team in his second impeachment trial earlier this year.  

Steve Bannon indicted for refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena, in Washington
An FBI officer observes as Steve Bannon arrives at the FBI’s Washington Field Office to turn himself in to federal authorities on November 15, 2021.

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS


Bannon has been charged with one count of contempt for refusing to appear for a deposition, and another count stemming from his refusal to produce documents to the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol. If convicted, he would face between 30 days and a year in prison on each charge, as well as fines of up to $100,000.

Bannon is the first person to be charged for refusing to appear before the House committee, which has subpoenaed other top Trump aides, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, senior adviser Stephen Miller and former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

The House January 6 select committee was created by Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year to investigate the attack, after thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming Mr. Biden’s victory. Lawmakers were sent fleeing amid the riot, which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of hundreds more. Mr. Trump, who encouraged his supporters to “walk over” to the Capitol during the Stop the Steal rally, was impeached by the House one week later for inciting the riot, but was later acquitted by the Senate

The full House of Representatives voted in October to hold Bannon in contempt after he refused to appear for a deposition and they referred the matter to the Justice Department.   

Nicole Sganga and Melissa Quinn contributed to this report.

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