U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols on Monday denied a request from Stephen Bannon to delay his contempt trial, which is scheduled to begin next week.
Bannon, a onetime strategist to former President Donald Trump, ignored a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, claiming he had "immunity" because of his role in the Trump White House. In November, Bannon was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress, with each count carrying between 30 days and one year in prison.
Over the weekend, Bannon reversed course and told the panel that he is now open to testifying. Federal prosecutors argued in a court filing that this was a last-minute distraction and the trial needed to go on, as postponing it would set a "bad precedent" and reward the "contempt and obstruction" shown by Bannon.
In addition to rejecting the request to delay the trial, Nichols, a Trump appointee, also ruled that Bannon's attorneys cannot call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other members of Congress to the stand as witnesses or argue that the Jan. 6 committee violated House rules in ordering Bannon's appearance. "What's the point of going to trial here if there are no defenses?" Bannon's attorney David Schoen asked. "Agreed," Nichols replied.