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

Steve Bannon talks with members of the media after an appearance at U.S. District Court on Nov. 15, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

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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