The Union Democrat

Steve Bannon asks to enter not-guilty plea to Jan. 6 contempt charges


WASHINGTON — Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon asked a federal judge in Washington to let him skip his next court appearance and formally enter a not-guilty plea to criminal charges over his refusal to cooperate with the congressio­nal investigat­ion into the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Bannon filed the request to waive arraignmen­t on Wednesday afternoon, a day before he was scheduled to return to federal court to enter his plea. He surrendere­d to the Federal Bureau of Investigat­ion on Monday and was expected to plead not guilty then, but the matter was postponed until Thursday. The former Trump campaign chairman and White House strategist surrendere­d his passport and was released on his own recognizan­ce.

Criminal defendants represente­d by counsel are often allowed to waive arraignmen­ts. Bannon was indicted last week on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas by the House Jan. 6 select committee seeking his deposition testimony and production of documents. The charges are misdemeano­rs that each carry a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

Bannon has said he was following Trump’s assertion of executive privilege in not cooperatin­g with the committee. Outside the courthouse Monday, he vowed to turn the case back on President Joe Biden and other top Democrat.

“This is gonna be the misdemeano­r from hell for Nancy Pelosi, Merrick Garland and Joe Biden,” Bannon said. “We’re tired of playing defense, we’re gonna go on the offense.”

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