By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump’s longtime former adviser Steve Bannon will go to trial on July 18 to face criminal charges over his defiance of a congressional inquiry into the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol, a federal judge said on Tuesday.
The trial date, set by U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols, represents a compromise between the government and Bannon’s lawyers, who each offered competing proposed trial dates during a hearing on Tuesday.
Prosecutors had asked for a trial in April, but Bannon’s lawyers said they needed more time to prepare and had sought a date in October.
“In the Jan. 6 criminal cases involving the people who were in the Capitol or committed violence in the Capitol, none of those cases have yet gone to trial for indictments that happened in January,” Nichols said.
He noted the case against Bannon, by contrast, is a misdemeanor and yet, the government wants to move at “lightspeed.” At the same time, he added, a proposal for an October trial would be “too slow.”
Bannon was indicted on one contempt count for refusing to appear for a deposition before the committee and a second count for refusing to produce documents.
The Democratically-controlled House of Representatives voted on Oct. 21 to hold Bannon in contempt, leaving it up to the Justice Department, headed by Attorney General Merrick Garland, to decide on bringing charges.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch)