Jury Selection in Bannon Trial Complete; Pool Affected by January 6 Hearings

Stephen K. Bannon trial (Nathan Howard / Getty)
Nathan Howard / Getty

A federal court approved 22 potential jurors Monday in the trial of Stephen K. Bannon for contempt of Congress, after a long day of questioning in which many jurors were excused because the January 6 Committee had biased them against Bannon.

The Washington Examiner reported:

The overwhelmingly liberal constituency in Washington has long put conservative defendants at a disadvantage when they stand trial in the nation’s capital, a dynamic that’s potentially amplified for Mr. Bannon by news coverage of the Jan. 6 committee and the Capitol riot.

Out of dozens of potential jurors interviewed in the courtroom, roughly three said they were not aware of the House Jan. 6 committee. The jury pool included family and friends of Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill, scores of eager consumers of left-leaning news media and at least one District resident who admitted he already knew Mr. Bannon was guilty.

Bannon’s legal team had argued that the trial ought to be delayed, claiming that the January 6 Committee hearings, in which only the case against Trump and his supporters has been made, were making it impossible for him to have a fair trial.

Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee who once clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, declined.

Bannon, once the executive chairman of Breitbart News, was appointed CEO of the ailing Trump presidential effort in August 2016 and steered the campaign to victory. He went on to serve as a senior adviser in the Trump White House.

He left in August 2017, and returned briefly to Breitbart News before launching his own media empire. Alienated from Trump over his role as a source for a negative book about Trump, Bannon reportedly returned to the fold years later.

In the run-up to the “Stop the Steal” rally on January 6, 2021, Bannon was allegedly in close contact with the president. Critics allege, albeit without proof, that he had foreknowledge of the riot that ensued at the Capitol the following day.

Bannon resisted subpoenas to testify at the January 6 Committee, citing executive privilege and the committee’s alleged violations of the terms of its enabling resolution, after Democrats refused to seat some Republican nominees to the panel.

The committee voted to recommend that he and others be held in contempt; the full Congress referred him to the Department of Justice, which broke with tradition and precedent by prosecuting him and former Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro.

The trial resumes on Tuesday at the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse in Washington, DC, with opening arguments.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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