(Trends Wide) — Prosecutors in the case against former President Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon accused him of attempting to judge his criminal case through the media rather than the court, saying his tactics could affect witnesses against him, according to a new filing in the Washington District Court.
Bannon is trying to convince a judge not to prohibit him and his attorneys from sharing with the public the documents he receives from the Justice Department before his trial.
Justice Department prosecutors said in Sunday’s filing that some of those records should remain private while the process is underway, as they include internal communications between congressional staff and notes from the FBI’s interviews with witnesses that they could testify against Bannon at trial.
“Allowing the defendant to publicly release reports of witness statements will have the collateral effect of witness tampering, as it will expose witnesses to public comment on their potential pretrial testimony and allow a witness to review summaries from the statements of other witnesses recounting the same event or events, “prosecutors wrote Sunday.
Steve Bannon’s media circus
Bannon is charged with two counts of contempt of Congress, for failing to testify or deliver documents in response to a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. He has pleaded not guilty. The defense team and prosecutors are scheduled to appear in court again on December 7, when they will discuss the date of the trial and possibly return to discuss the confidentiality issues of the case.
It is not publicly known which witnesses the FBI interviewed about Steve Bannon.
In the new court filing, members of the Washington DC District Attorney Amanda Vaughn, JP Cooney and Molly Gaston are especially opposed to Steve Bannon speaking publicly about his case, even outside of court after his initial appearance, where he said that his legal team would be on the offensive and that the prosecution against him would be “hell” for the Biden administration.
Prosecutors have also said their attorneys did not engage in good faith negotiations over a proposed confidentiality order in the case, as the judge overseeing the process wanted.
“The misleading statements of the defense, the failure to consult, the inexplicable opposition to everything and the extrajudicial statements make clear the true purpose of the defense: to abuse the criminal investigation to judge this case in the media instead of in the courts, “prosecutors wrote.