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Timetable for Bannon contempt trial contested by prosecution, defense

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Timetable for Bannon contempt trial contested by prosecution, defense
Former White House adviser Steve Bannon makes remarks to the press as he departs Federal Court on Monday. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 18 (UPI) -- The timetable over Steve Bannon's trial was contested by both the prosecution and defense during a hearing on Thursday.

The debate over timing for the trial broke out as prosecutors pressed for a quick trial and defense lawyers attempted to delay proceedings.

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While U.S. District Court Judge Carl Nichols rejected Bannon's request to put off the trial until after the New Year, he also said that the prosecution's preferred timetable may not be realistic.

Nichols did not set a trial date, instead requiring each side to propose a timetable by Dec. 6. Another hearing was also scheduled for Dec. 7.

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"What I'm being presented with is on the one hand the government's position is that this case should go to trial very, very, very soon," Nichols said.

"On the other hand, Mr. Bannon's view is that a lot has to happen in this matter. It's not clear to me that either of those positions are quite correct," he said.

Bannon faces criminal trial for refusing to provide documents or testimony to investigators looking into former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 elections.

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He has been charged with two misdemeanors of contempt of Congress. Each count carries a maximum prison sentence of one year and a fine of up to $100,000.

The Jan. 6 select committee investigating the Capitol riots says Bannon communicated with Trump during key moments leading up to the riots.

Prosecuting assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Vaughn said the case is uncomplicated and asked Nichols to set a trial date right away.

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Bannon attorney Evan Corcoran said his client needed time to prepare and present a defense, and that the case consists of complex constitutional issues. He told the judge that his team would need to gather records from several government branches.

"The government has described this as a simple case with only 200 documents, but I think it's an oversimplification," the defense lawyer said.

Oral arguments of a civil lawsuit filed by Trump against the legitimacy of the committee's probe are set to begin on Nov. 30. Corcoran suggested the judge wait until the outcome of the lawsuit comes forward.

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