President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon will not call any witnesses or testify in his trial, where he faces contempt charges for defying the Jan 6. Committee’s subpoena.
According to Politico, Bannon’s lawyers announced Thursday they would not be calling witnesses or introducing new evidence in the case. “Mr. Bannon won’t be testifying,” his attorney David Schoen said.
Schoen read a statement that explained why. Politico reported:
“Schoen later read a statement declaring that Bannon wasn’t testifying because Nichols had ruled out most of the defenses Bannon wanted to discuss, including an assertion of executive privilege by former President Donald Trump and that he relied on an attorney’s advice in declining to respond to the subpoena.”
Bannon’s trial, which kicked off Monday, comes after the U.S. House referred him to the Justice Department for defying a subpoena issued by the committee over the events of Jan. 6, as previously reported by RSBN.
Reuters reported that Bannon’s attorney Evan Corcoran asked U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols to dismiss the charges as the committee “not presented evidence upon which a reasonable person can find beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Bannon is guilty of the charges of contempt of Congress.”
The Hill reported that the jury was dismissed early Thursday afternoon in order for Nichols to consider the pending motions ahead of Friday’s closing arguments before jury deliberations.
The decision comes after the prosecution rested its case, having called only two witnesses, senior committee staff member Kristin Amerling and FBI special agent Stephen Hart, Reuters added.
Earlier this week, Bannon called out Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., for not having “the guts to show up” to face him and court and sending a staffer instead, as previously reported.
“I challenge Bennie Thompson today to have the courage to come to this courthouse. If he’s going to charge somebody with a crime, he’s got to be man enough to show up here… It is outrageous,” Bannon told reporters outside the courthouse Tuesday. “For them to sit there and try to get a complete hearing and they won’t get any testimony, about FBI involvement, about DHS involvement, about any involvement, and what’s driving this. The total and complete illegitimacy of Joe Biden.”