Prosecutors are asking a judge to deny Steve Bannon’s request to make evidence in his contempt of Congress trial public, accusing the adviser to former President Donald Trump of attempting to “try this case in the media.”
Prosecutors asked earlier this month that a protective order be issued that would limit what Bannon and his lawyers can release from the ‘discovery’ process to the public or media. This would include grand jury transcripts that led to the actual indictment.
The material is essential for a defense to build their case for a trial, but Bannon’s lawyers have made clear through their own request with the court that they believe the protective order is “burdensome and restrictive.” Bannon’s lawyers also argued prosecutors were asking for too much leeway in what they get to determine is too “sensitive” to release to the public.
In their latest filing, however, prosecutors said that they believe Bannon’s actions are a way to try the case in the media, rather than in court. They claim that releasing certain information would equate to witness tampering, as it would provide no protection for some witnesses’ identities and testimonies. They have also claimed that making this evidence public would lead to “extrajudicial” arguments from Bannon allies “about the merits of the case pending against him and the validity of the government’s decision to seek an indictment.”
Bannon was held in contempt of Congress earlier this month for failing to answer a subpoena to testify before a subcommittee assigned with investigating the January 6 riot at the Capitol. Bannon spoke at a nearby event shortly beforehand.
Prosecutors say Bannon is trying to “abuse” the discovery process. The former White House official previously vowed to make the charges against him the “misdemeanor from hell” for Joe Biden’s administration.