Speed Reads

'no one ignored the subpoena'

Steve Bannon 'decided he was above the law,' says prosecution

Ex-adviser to former President Donald Trump Steve Bannon decided he was "above the law" in defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, a federal prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday, per Reuters.

The subpoena "wasn't optional," proclaimed prosecutor Amanda Vaughn during opening statements at Bannon's contempt of Congress trial. "It wasn't a request. And it wasn't an invitation. It was mandatory."

"The defendant decided he was above the law, and he didn't have to follow the government's orders like his fellow citizens," Vaughn continued, "and that's why we're here today."

Bannon was charged with two counts of contempt of Congress after failing to comply with a subpoena issued by the select committee last year. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Speaking for the defense, Bannon lawyer Evan Corcoran alleged his client did not ignore the committee's subpoena and that he did in fact engage with Congress.

"No one ignored the subpoena," Corcoran told jurors, per The Washington Post, arguing that the dates of the requests sent to Bannon were "not fixed" — "They were flexible," he said. "It's called negotiation, it's called accommodation … that's not an excuse." 

The lawyer also implored jurors to consider whether evidence in the case is "affected by politics."

Both contempt charges against the former Trump adviser carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Witness testimony in the trial began shortly after opening statements concluded.