A coalition of major national media companies and news organizations have filed legal notice in support of Stephen K. Bannon, asking federal courts not to bar him from publicly publishing documents related to the January 6 Capitol riot.
In disrespect for the Congressional case against him, the government is trying to prevent Mr. Bannon from releasing thousands of pages of documents to which he has access. The coalition, which includes ABC, CBS, CNN, Dow Jones, NBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post, filed a memo on Tuesday claiming the government’s proposed order would violate the First Amendment.
Mr. Bannon, a former adviser to former President Donald Trump, was indicted in November by a federal grand jury on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after refusing to obey subpoenas to testify and submit documents to the House of Representatives. Committee to Investigate the Mafia Attack on January 6th. He pleaded not guilty.
As part of the investigation process, Mr. Bannon’s lawyers gained access to over 1,000 pages of documents, including testimony transcripts and grand jury exhibits. In a November 17 filing, the Justice Department requested a restraining order to prevent Mr. Bannon from releasing any documents.
Subsequent filings noted that Mr. Bannon indicated that he intended to release documents “to provide extrajudicial arguments on the merits of the case against him and the validity of the government’s decision to bring charges.” Federal prosecutors also pointed to remarks made by Mr. Bannon at a press conference after his first trial, including: “We are about to commit a crime over this.”
It is unusual for Mr. Bannon and the major news organizations to be on the same side of the issue. Like Mr Trump, Mr Bannon has often vilified established media outlets.
But the coalition argued that it was in the public interest to release the documents by Mr. Bannon.
“The public is extremely interested in the facts, circumstances and reasons for the January 6 riots,” the coalition’s memo said. “Bannon has been charged with investigating the riot and has shown his willingness to speak to the press and the public about the government’s case against him.”
The news of the legal briefing first appeared in The Daily Mail.