(AmericanProsperity.com) – There’s a new update in the ongoing contempt case against Steve Bannon. The former White House Chief Strategist initially faced sanctions back on November 12 after refusing to share evidence about the January 6 capitol riots with Congress. Now, he’s threatening to release sensitive trial documents to the public, prompting the DOJ to try and silence him before the case proceeds.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a 10-page complaint, first obtained by Politico, to the District Court of Columbia currently handling Bannon’s trial. DOJ prosecutors Amanda Vaughn, J.P. Cooney, and Molly Gaston accuse Bannon and his defense team of seeking to try the case in the court of public or media opinion.
The DOJ claims Bannon’s threats represent witness tampering, mainly because leaking the documents will expose the unnamed whistleblowers to public commentary. They also worry witnesses will compare notes, which could skew the case.
Bannon, however, disagrees with their viewpoint and accuses the DOJ of trying to silence him on the subject. He told reporters the entire case represents a “misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden” earlier in November.
What Bannon’s Team Wants
On the 24th of November, Bannon’s defense team filed a request with the court to deny the DOJ’s Motion for Protective Order and to Disclose Grand Jury Testimony. They claim that the request is too broad and far too all-encompassing; it doesn’t align with the law or legislative guidelines.
The former Trump aide’s defense team, including M. Evan Corcoran and David I. Schoen, cited the very law that the DOJ claims gives them a reason for the motion as proof of why the court should deny it. They say the DOJ failed to elaborate on what makes their request fall under the Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16.
Allegedly, none of the DOJ-listed items provided enough specific evidence to fall under a protective order.
The defense was very thorough with the cases they cited and explained how a protective order was supposed to safeguard the fairness of a trial. If the DOJ got their way, silencing Bannon would become counterproductive in achieving this goal.
The DOJ’s Response
On November 28, the DOJ filed a retort to the defense counsel’s document. Submitted by Matthew Graves and Amanda R. Vaughn, along with the DOJ’s legal team for the case, the documents claim that Bannon’s heated statements proved the court needed to control what the former strategist could share with the public.
Vaughn and Graves wrote that they weren’t attempting to block all public release of information, but only information pertaining to interviews and correspondence of individuals that wouldn’t already be available to the public. In this way, the DOJ would block Bannon from sharing sensitive data.
It seems both sides of this case are at war before the trial has even begun. Bannon’s defense team and the DOJ’s prosecutors have both submitted requests to the court to control the narrative. But who’s right, here, as Bannon continues to speak out? Should the DOJ have the right to silence people, or does Freedom of Speech apply?
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