A jury was selected on Monday to trial Steve Bannon, a former adviser to Donald Trump, for defying a summons to testify before lawmakers investigating the attack on the US Capitol.
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Bannon, who led Trump’s successful 2016 presidential election campaign, was among dozens of people called by a congressional committee by Trump supporters to testify about the 2021 storming of Congress.
The 68-year-old refused the summons and was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress.
A 22-member jury was selected for hearing the case on Monday. The panel will be cut Tuesday to 12 jurors and two alternate members, and will begin early debate in hopes of a speedy trial.
Bannon’s lawyers sought to delay the start of the trial so that it doesn’t happen at the same time as the House committee’s public hearing on the Capitol attack, but the judge denied the request last week.
Thousands of Trump supporters, many of whom were affiliated with ultra-nationalist and white supremacist groups, stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to block certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
He was incensed by Trump in a fiery speech near the White House, during which he repeated his false claims of electoral fraud.
According to the House committee investigating the riots, Bannon spoke to Trump the previous day.
Investigators believe Bannon and other Trump advisers may have knowledge of links between the White House and the rioters.
After months of refusing to testify, Bannon finally agreed to cooperate with the House investigation this month, a move prosecutors said was “a last attempt to evade accountability” by stalling the contempt trial. was.
Judge Carl Nichols ruled that the trial should proceed anyway, adding, “I see no reason to pursue this case any further.”
If convicted of contempt, Bannon faces a sentence of a minimum of 30 days in each case and a maximum of one year in prison.
He was Trump’s chief of strategy at the White House before being sacked in 2017.
Bannon was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering after allegedly defrauding thousands of donors into a campaign to fund Trump’s anti-migrant wall at the southern border.
In Trump’s final hours in office, he pardoned Bannon.
Over 850 people have been arrested in connection with the attack on Congress. At least five people were killed and 140 police officers were injured in the attack.
Trump was impeached for a historic second time by the House after the riots – he was accused of inciting rebellion – but was acquitted by the Senate.
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