Prosecutors say they can make their case against Bannon in a day
Federal prosecutors told a judge that they could present their case against Steve Bannon to a jury in a single day, pushing back on the former White House strategist’s efforts to delay his criminal trial over his refusal to comply with a congressional subpoena.
In a joint status report filed in court Monday night, the Justice Department and Bannon’s defense team laid out their various disagreements about how long the case should take and how soon it should proceed to trial.
“The Government anticipates that its case-in-chief will consist of one day of testimony,” prosecutors said in the report.
There appears to be few pretrial issues where the two parties are in agreement, according to the Monday filing. The Justice Department pushed for a relatively rapid schedule, proposing that trial begin on April 15, 2022.
Bannon’s lawyers argued that they should be allowed to spend a significant amount of time collecting evidence before proceeding to trial and suggested an October 17, 2022 trial date. The defense said that the novel legal issues that will be presented in this case will require time and consideration.
“This case raises complex constitutional issues of first impression,” the filing reads. “Some of these issues involve inter-branch relationships and on the operations of the U.S. government at its highest levels. There is no basis for having these issues adjudicated on a rushed basis.”
A federal judge will hear from both sides Tuesday morning in a hearing set to address the various pretrial matters.
The Justice Department also said in Monday’s filing that it intends to ask the court to prohibit Bannon from presenting any defense that claims that he was acting on the advice of his lawyers when he defied the subpoena from the House Jan. 6 Select Committee.
“Based on the defense’s public statements, the Government anticipates filing a motion in limine to exclude evidence and argument relating to any advice of counsel on the basis that it is not a defense to the pending charges,” prosecutors wrote.
They added that if Bannon is allowed to proceed with such an argument, the Justice Department would be entitled to collect “all communications and records involving any attorney(s) on whose advice the defendant claims he relied.”
The prosecutors did not lay out their full rationale for why the hypothetical argument should be excluded, and it’s unclear if Bannon is planning to mount a defense along those lines.