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Judge shreds Bannon defenses ahead of contempt trial

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A federal judge on Monday eviscerated nearly all of Steve Bannon’s defenses against a charge that he criminally defied a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee, leaving the longtime Donald Trump ally with few options to fight the contempt of Congress case against him.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols also denied Bannon’s bid to postpone for three months the jury trial set to open next Monday, rejecting defense arguments that such a delay was warranted due to intense media coverage around the ongoing House hearings on the Capitol siege. Bannon’s attorneys contended Trump’s sudden move to abandon executive privilege claims for Bannon should also spark a delay, but the judge rejected that as well.

The Trump-appointed judge said thorough questioning of potential jurors could almost certainly resolve potential prejudice. And if it couldn’t, Nichols added, he would revisit the issue after jury selection.

After a two-and-a-half-hour hearing which Bannon elected not to attend, Nichols returned to the bench Monday afternoon to spend nearly an hour delivering oral rulings that left the defense case in tatters. Bannon’s legal team appeared flummoxed by the result.

“What’s the point in going to trial here if there are no defenses?” attorney David Schoen declared in court after Nichols wound up his rulings from the bench.

The judge’s orders seem to ensure that a high-profile trial of one of Trump’s closest allies in his........

© Politico

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