Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon acted as “above the law”: Prosecutor on Capitol riots

Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon acted as “above the law”: Prosecutor on Capitol riots

Steve Bannon led Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign. (file)

Washington:

Former Trump aide Steve Bannon believed he was “above the law” when he defied a subpoena to testify before lawmakers investigating the 2021 Capitol attack, a US prosecutor said on Tuesday. Said arguments began in his federal trial for contempt of Congress.

Bannon, who led Donald Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign, was among dozens of people called by a House of Representatives committee to testify about the storming of Congress by Trump supporters on January 6, 2021.

The 68-year-old did not appear on the date of the summons or provide the requested documents relating to the attack and the events connected with it, and was charged with two counts of contempt.

“The defendant decided that he is above the law,” prosecutor Amanda Vaughan said in her opening statement Tuesday to a panel of 12 jurors and two options elected at a Washington courthouse. “And that’s why we are here today.”

“He ignored orders to comply, even though Congress rejected his excuses, and he brushed aside several warnings that he could face criminal prosecution,” he said.

Bannon’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, denied that his client had ignored the summons, saying the date was “the subject of ongoing discussions and negotiations” and “flexible”, noting that it was up to the House committee. It was a specific process.

Bannon spoke to Trump a day before thousands of supporters of the former president stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block authentication of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory, according to the panel.

He was incensed by Trump in a fiery speech near the White House, during which he repeated his false claims of electoral fraud.

Corcoran said the decision to hold Bannon in contempt was politically motivated, adding that “politics is the lifeblood of the U.S. House of Representatives” and that it “encroaches on every decision he makes.”

Vaughan said the committee had reason to believe Bannon and other Trump advisers may have been aware of links between the White House and the rioters.

After months of refusing to testify, Bannon finally agreed this month to cooperate with the House investigation, a move prosecutors said was previously a “last attempt to evade accountability.”

Bannon’s lawyers sought to delay the trial, but US District Court Judge Carl Nichols declined the motion.

Prosecutors called their first witnesses, the committee’s deputy staff director and chief counsel Kristin Amarling, at the end of the session.

Bannon, who served as Trump’s strategy chief at the White House before being sacked in 2017, could serve from 30 days to a year in prison for each of the two counts if a speedy trial is expected. is found guilty.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Indian Lekhak

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