By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A witness for U.S. federal prosecutors is expected to testify on Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s former adviser, Steve Bannon, defied a subpoena from the congressional investigation into the January 6 assault on Capitol Hill in Bannon’s trial for criminal contempt of Congress.
Federal prosecutors are expected to continue questioning witness Kristin Amerling, the lead counsel for the Democratic-led House select committee on Jan. 6, who told jurors Tuesday that Bannon missed two key deadlines in October 2021 to provide documents and testimony.
Bannon, 68, has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress.
US Attorney Amanda Vaughn told jurors Tuesday that Bannon believes he is “above the law” and willfully failed to comply with the committee’s subpoena while investigating the attack by Trump supporters.
Meanwhile, Bannon’s attorney, Evan Corcoran, told the jury in his opening statement that his client was innocent of the charges.
When Bannon received the summons in September, Corcoran said, he consulted with his attorney, Robert Costello, about how to respond. Corcoran said Bannon believed the subpoena deadlines were not set and negotiations between the parties would continue, a practice he said is common for many of the other witnesses on the committee.
The government’s case is not expected to last long. After Amerling finishes testifying, the government is expected to call an FBI agent and has also said it may call an additional committee staff member, according to court documents.
It is not yet clear what witnesses, if any, Bannon’s defense team may call. His attorneys have lobbied for permission to force the chairman of the select committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, to take the stand.
“I challenge Bennie Thompson today to have the courage to come to this courtroom. If he’s going to charge someone with a crime, he’s got to be man enough to show up here,” Bannon said after leaving the courthouse.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, additional reporting by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Scott Malone and Aurora Ellis)