Dec 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Media giants back Bannon's bid to release Jan. 6 documents

 Former Trump Administration White House advisor Steve Bannon gives a brief statement as he arrives to turn himself in at the FBI Washington Field Office on November 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon at the FBI Washington Field Office in Washington, D.C., in November. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A coalition of news outlets including the Washington Post is supporting Stephen Bannon's campaign for the release of documents related to his contempt of Congress charges, WashPost reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: WashPost, the New York Times, CNN, NBC, the Wall Street Journal's parent company and others filed a motion arguing that a proposed protective order seeking to prevent the documents from being released violates the First Amendment, per the Daily Mail, which first reported on the news.

Driving the news: The documents include information related to the discovery process in the prosecution of Bannon for his failure to comply with a House Jan. 6 select committee subpoena — among them over 1,000 pages of witness testimony and grand-jury proceedings.

  • Prosecutors argued in a motion Sunday that Bannon was seeking to "try this case in the media rather than in court."

What they're saying: Journalists would also be "unable to see the documents if the Justice Department prevails in persuading a judge to impose a protective order," WashPost writes.

  • Attorneys for the news outlets said in their brief that the proposed order was "overbroad" and " would limit what the public could learn about the government’s case," according to WashPost.

For the record: BuzzFeed News, NPR, CBS News, the Los Angeles Times, Gannett Co., ProPublica, E.W. Scripps Co., Gray Media Group and Tegna Inc. have also joined the legal challenge, WashPost notes.

The big picture: A grand jury indicted Bannon last month on two counts of contempt of Congress for his failure to comply with a House Jan. 6 select committee subpoena.


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