EXCLUSIVE: CNN, ABC, and more than a dozen media companies file legal brief JOINING Steve Bannon’s bid to lift the DOJ’s order stopping him sharing 1,000 files in his contempt of Congress case
- Prosecutors are seeking a protective order that would prohibit Bannon or his team from disclosing materials from the case
- Justice Department says prosecutors have handed over grand jury materials, interviews, and Jan. 6th Committee emails totaling more than 1,000 pages
- Media groups have submitted a motion arguing on Bannon’s side
- The press group argues that the government’s proposed order would violate the First Amendment
- The Feds argued in their own motion Sunday that Bannon is seeking to ‘try this case in the media rather than in court’
- Bannon was indicted this month and charged with contempt of Congress after he failed to comply with a subpoena from the House Jan. 6th committee
- Joining in the filing are CNN, ABC, NBC, the New York Times, and the Washington Post
A coalition of major media companies has filed a legal brief in support of former Trump chief White House strategist Steven Bannon as he fights a proposed protective order in court that would keep him from publicizing Jan. 6th documents and information.
The media group – which includes CNN, ABC, NBC, plus the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the parent company of the Wall Street Journal – filed a motion to intervene as Bannon’s fights the government’s proposed order as part of his contempt of Congress case.
The order would severely limit what Bannon can do with the trove of information that the feds must share as part of the normal discovery process and have already begun handing over. According to a prior government filing, this includes more than 1,000 pages of witness testimony, grand jury material, and even emails from staff for the House Jan. 6th Committee investigating the Capitol riot.
The press group argues that the government’s proposed order would violate the First Amendment – and takes on the government’s own contention that allowing Bannon to use the materials would result in pretrial publicity that could taint the jury pool.
A group of major media companies has filed a motion in U.S. District Court siding with former Trump chief White House strategist Steve Bannon as he opposes a proposed protective order
‘Proper justification for a gag order necessarily includes a finding, in absence of its entry, that no ‘less restrictive alternatives’ can adequately prevent the perceived harm,’ according to the filing, which media lawyers provided to clerks via email Nov. 26th pursuant in U.S. District Court and which was obtained by DailyMail.com.
The order ‘would prohibit Bannon and his counsel from communicating with the press and public about any materials that the Government provides during discovery – not just materials that the Government properly deems ‘sensitive,’ according to the filing.
The filing puts the mainstream press squarely on the side of Bannon, who has in the past said the Times should be ‘ashamed and humiliated’ and attacked the media as the ‘opposition party’ – albeit on a procedural matter of mutual interest.
The order would prevent Bannon from sharing information he obtains through his defense with the media. Prosecutors accuse him of trying to turn his own trial into a media circus
Bannon said after being charged: ”I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland,’ in reference to the attorney general
The House Jan. 6th Committee subpoenaed Bannon as part of its probe
The panel is probing the Capitol riot. Panel members have cited reports Bannon was in a ‘war room’ at the Willard Hotel in D.C. when a Jan. 6th protest was being organized
The press group argues the government has failed to show less restrictive alternatives wouldn’t accomplish the task. The media group notes Chief Judge Beryl Howell ordered the release of a video from another January 6th case, arguing the need for public access ‘is very strong.’ It states that Bannon ‘has demonstrated his desire to communicate with the press and public about the Government’s case against him.’
The Justice Department took a sterner view of what it said Bannon was trying to do with his case – accusing him of using the discovery process to ‘try this case in the media rather than in court.’
It pointed to Bannon’s own comments outside the courthouse after his first preliminary hearing.
‘I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden,’ Bannon said outside the courthouse.
‘Joe Biden ordered Merrick Garland to prosecute me from the White House lawn when he got off Marine One, and we’re going to go on the offense. We’re tired of playing defense. We’re going to go on the offense on this,’ Bannon vowed.
Prosecutors wrote: ‘Allowing the defendant to publicly disseminate reports of witness statements will have the collateral effect of witness tampering because it will expose witnesses to public commentary on their potential testimony before trial and allow a witness to review summaries of other witnesses’ statements recounting the same event or events.’
News of the legal wrangling came on a day when Jan. 6th committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadow is cooperating with the panel, under an accommodation that could allow him to refuse to answer questions on sensitive areas where Trump is claiming executive privilege.