Steve Bannon has pleaded not guilty to the criminal contempt of Congress charges against him, according to a notice filed in federal court on Wednesday.
The notice came in advance of a hearing set for Thursday morning — scheduled to be Bannon’s first appearance before US District Judge Carl Nichols, who will oversee his case and any potential trial for contempt for failing to testify or turn over documents in the House’s January 6 investigation. Bannon said he did not need to have his charges read by the judge in open court, according to the filing.
Judge Carl Nichols accepted the plea Thursday.
Prosecutors did not seek to detain him before trial. Under conditions approved by the judge, Bannon has agreed to weekly check-ins, to surrender his passport, provide notice of any travel outside the district and seek court approval for travel outside the continental United States.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) November 15, 2021
Bannon’s plea kicks off court proceedings for what he has promised will be a hostile defense. The former senior adviser to Donald Trump had appeared in court on Monday after being charged last week with one count related to his refusal to appear for a deposition and another related to his refusal to produce documents to the House select committee. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000, the Department of Justice said.
Hello from Judge Carl Nichols' virtual courtroom, where Steve Bannon is set to make his next appearance (remotely) in his criminal contempt case. He's waived a formal arraignment and asked the judge to accept his initial not guilty plea on the papers: https://t.co/9NE7xFtgRr pic.twitter.com/N5D9y1dpoY
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) November 18, 2021
“I’m telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell for (Attorney General) Merrick Garland, (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden,” Bannon told reporters after the hearing, swearing his team is “going to go on the offense.”