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Steve Bannon faces up to a year in prison as contempt of Congress trial begins

Jury selection began in the contempt of Congress trial of Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart News chair who served in former President Donald Trump's White House in 2017.

Bannon was charged with contempt after defying a subpoena issued last year by the Jan. 6 committee. The committee claimed that Bannon, who spoke to Trump twice on Jan. 5, appears to have had "some foreknowledge about extreme events that would occur the next day." Both contempt charges carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

The trial is unlikely to go well for Bannon. At a recent hearing, one of his lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, "What's the point of going to trial if we don't have any defenses?" Nichols, a Trump appointee, simply responded, "Agreed."

According to The Guardian, Nichols ruled that Bannon cannot argue "that he had been relying on the advice of his lawyer when he defied the subpoena" and his claim of executive privilege is pretty shaky as well, considering that Bannon wasn't employed by the government at the time of the events in question. 

Last week, Bannon offered to testify before the Jan. 6 committee after Trump affirmed he'd waive executive privilege. Nichols has not yet decided whether Bannon can use that offer as evidence in his defense.

With very few arguments in his quiver, Bannon is probably expecting to be found guilty and is only going through with the trial in order to preserve his ability to appeal, former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Bellin told Insider.