Bannon walked into a perjury trap with his executive privilege publicity stunt: legal experts

Bannon walked into a perjury trap with his executive privilege publicity stunt: legal experts
Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Wikimedia Commons
Frontpage news and politics

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon's request that Donald Trump issue a letter releasing him to speak to House investigators looking into the Jan 6th insurrection may have put him in even greater legal peril reports the Daily Beast.

Last week the former president gave the go-ahead for Bannon -- already facing trial on criminal contempt charges -- which was generally regarded as an attempt to forestall his trial and a as publicity stunt for both parties.

That, however, did not work and now his offer has put him the position where the House Jan 6th select committee could put him under oath where he could blunder and commit perjury.

As the Beast's Jose Pagliery wrote, "The letter was a last-minute attempt to throw a curveball at the Justice Department just a week before Bannon’s criminal contempt of Congress trial for refusing to show up before that very committee," adding, "Now Bannon is barreling toward a trial while dangling potential testimony before the congressional panel—a prime opportunity to perjure himself or explain why he broke the law—and lawyers say there’s practically nothing he can do that won’t land him in even more legal jeopardy."

According to law professor Michael J. Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina, "It’s going to make it very hard for him to figure out what he could say that won’t incriminate him. I think he’s going to land in trouble. It just seems inevitable."

While it is unclear whether the committee will take Bannon up on his offer, Pagliery wrote that should they do so, Bannon will have successfully have painted himself into a corner where he either has to tell the truth or face new criminal charges.

"If the committee accepts his tenuous offer, Bannon is in the awkward position of putting himself in one hot seat just days before he’s in yet another," he explained. "For example, committee members could ask him why he never showed up last fall—and whatever Bannon says under penalty of perjury could appear at trial just days later. If he contradicts himself on anything at any point, prosecutors can argue that he lied to Congress—yet another crime—or is lying at trial."

The report also goes on to note that, should Bannon try to "grandstand" during his testimony, it could bring down the wrath of federal prosecutors.

As George Washington University law school professor Catherine J. Ross put it, "If he’s calculating that he can make a better plea deal, it would undermine those strategies… he could make his situation worse if he perjures himself or is seen as an extremely uncooperative witness."

You can read more here.

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