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July 13, 2022

Rulings Put Bannon's Contempt Trial Defense on Thin Ice


Litigation attorney Steven Gordon was interviewed by Law360 about a federal judge's ruling that struck down key parts of Steve Bannon's defense against contempt of Congress charges. Among other arguments, Bannon claimed that former President Donald Trump's assertion of executive privilege meant he did not have to comply with Congress' subpoena, and that he was covered by U.S. Department of Justice policy barring certain White House aides from being compelled by congressional subpoenas. However, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols dismissed both arguments, saying that Trump's assertion of executive privilege did not allow Bannon to engage in total noncompliance and that none of the opinions he cited specifically dealt with his situation. Mr. Gordon commented that the rulings mean "Bannon is basically backed into a corner at this point." He added that although the case has legal implications for other congressional probes where former presidential aides may be subpoenaed, Nichols did not break any new ground with his decision.

"It seems to me most of his rulings were fairly mainstream rulings that you can have anticipated given the existing state of the law," Mr. Gordon said.

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