Judge Rejects New Steve Bannon Demand For Trial Delay After Bombshell 'King' Trump Tape

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A judge on Thursday turned down yet another demand by former White House strategist Steve Bannon to delay his trial on contempt charges after he blew off a subpoena to testify before the Jan. 6 panel.

The latest request to delay his trial, scheduled to start Monday, followed the release of a startling recording of Bannon obtained by Mother Jones saying that Donald Trump planned to falsely declare that he won the presidential race election night. Trump intended to stay in the Oval Office long before all the votes were counted and before he expressed any baseless claims about a rigged election, according to Bannon.

“What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,” Bannon, laughing, said at an Oct. 31, 2020, meeting arranged by exiled Chinese mogul Guo Wengui for whom Bannon has worked. “He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.”

Bannon predicted a “firestorm” the following day as the media and the courts would go “crazy.” And “Trump’s tweeting shit out, ‘You Lose. I’m the winner. I’m the king,’” Bannon added to uproarious laughter on the tape.

The meeting was held in the so-called “war room” of the Willard Hotel in Wasington, D.C., where Trump supporters plotted his overthrow of the election results.

Bannon also predicted Trump would fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and then he’d never have to “go to a voter again,” presumably because he’d be president for life. “He’s done his last election,” Bannon explained on the tape.

Bannon’s attorney David Schoen argued that the release of the recording would bias prospective jurors for Bannon’s trial, CBS News reported.

Schoen also argued that jurors would be biased by the Jan. 6 panel playing at Tuesday’s hearing a recording of Bannon on his podcast gleefully declaring that “all hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” the day before the insurrection. In addition, Schoen cited a documentary on Bannon to be aired on CNN on Sunday.

D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols rejected the delay request and said the jury selection process is the best remedy to filter out bias.

“We’re still going to be at trial on Monday,” Nichols said, NBC News reported from the courthouse.

Nichols last week rejected an earlier request that Bannon’s trial be delayed because of possible media influence on prospective jurors. The judge also barred Bannon from presenting several potential defenses, or calling House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or members of the select committee to the stand during his trial.

Nichols left the door open Thursday to allow Bannon to present evidence to jurors about his last-minute offer to testify to the Jan. 6 committee. Bannon contacted the committee about testifying after Trump last Saturday issued a letter saying he would “waive” executive privilege to allow Bannon to do so.

But Department of Justice prosecutors said in a court filing Monday that Trump’s attorney Justin Carter told them last month that Trump never invoked executive privilege in Bannon’s testimony.

They characterized Bannon’s actions not as a “genuine effort to meet his obligations, but a last-ditch attempt to avoid accountability.” The only thing that “really changed since he refused to comply with the subpoena in October 2021 is that he is finally about to face the consequences of his decision to default,” the filing stated.

The Jan. 6 panel presented earlier testimony from White House aides supporting Bannon’s prediction that Trump would declare himself the victor in the presidential election. An inebriated Rudy Giuliani turned up at the White House election night and strongly encouraged Trump to declare himself the winner during what’s known as the “red mirage” when early votes tend to lean Republican, witnesses testified.

A plan by Trump to declare himself an early winner before any possible fraud could even be suspected could point to pre-meditation by Trump and allies to steal the election, observers say.

Read the entire Mother Jones’ story on the Bannon recording here.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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