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Bannon trial set to open Tuesday as jury selection winds down

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Opening arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday in the criminal trial of former Trump White House adviser Steve Bannon, after a federal judge selected 22 potential jurors to sit in the contempt-of-Congress case.

The selection of a prospective jury on Monday — capping a full day of vetting to screen out anyone who seemed particularly biased against or hostile to Bannon — clears the way for opening arguments to begin Tuesday in a trial that prosecutors say should be complete before the weekend.

Bannon has repeatedly inveighed against the criminal case, vowing to make it “the misdemeanor from hell” for the White House and Justice Department, and he has vowed to punish Democrats for their roles leading to his prosecution for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the attack on the Capitol. Bannon has contended that his contacts with former President Donald Trump rendered him entirely immune from subpoena, a position the Jan. 6 committee and the Justice Department have argued is baseless.

Bannon’s attorneys have questioned whether it’s possible for him to receive a fair trial given the intense media scrutiny around Bannon and the select committee. But U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, rejected those concerns, saying he would revisit the matter after thorough interviews of prospective jurors to ensure they could judge the case fairly.

On Tuesday morning, prosecutors and defense attorneys will whittle the 22 potential jurors to 14 — 12 jurors and two alternates — before opening arguments begin.

The impending seating of a jury guarantees a high-profile trial for one of the Jan. 6 committee’s most significant holdouts. Bannon, who received a presidential pardon from Trump for unrelated conduct, was repeatedly in contact with Trump in the days and weeks preceding Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters swarmed the Capitol and disrupted the transition of power, battering through police lines and sending lawmakers fleeing. Bannon was involved in a so-called war room at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., where Trump allies oversaw a strategy to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential election during a joint session of Congress........

© Politico

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