NYT, CNN, other major media outlets back Bannon’s bid to unseal docs in contempt of Congress case

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A group of over a dozen media outlets including CNN, ABC, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the parent company of The Wall Street Journal have joined former Trump chief White House strategist Steve Bannon in his bid to unseal documents from his contempt of Congress case.

The media coalition has filed a legal brief supporting Bannon’s attempt to fight a proposed protective order that would prevent him from publicizing Jan. 6th documents and information, according to the Daily Mail.

If the DOJ protective order stands it would severely limit Bannon’s options concerning what he can do with the mountainous information that the federal government will have to share as part of discovery during his trial. According to a prior government filing, that includes over 1,000 pages of witness testimony, grand jury material, and emails from staff for the House Jan. 6th Committee investigating the Capitol riot.

The media group is contending that the government’s proposed order violates the First Amendment.

“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,” the filing states.

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,'” the filing asserts according to the Daily Mail.

In a strange twist of events, the filing aligns the mainstream media with Bannon.

The media group is pointing out that Chief Judge Beryl Howell ordered the release of a video from another January 6th case, arguing that the need for public access “is very strong.” They are contending that Bannon “has demonstrated his desire to communicate with the press and public about the Government’s case against him.”

The Department of Justice is playing hardball over the issue. They are accusing Bannon of using the discovery process to “try this case in the media rather than in court.”

To drive their point home, the DOJ is pointing to Bannon’s comments outside the courthouse following his 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 proclaimed 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,” he vowed.

(Video Credit: CNN)

“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,” prosecutors charged.

The clash comes as House Jan. 6th Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) remarked in a statement that former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is cooperating with the panel, under an accommodation that may potentially allow him to refuse to answer questions on sensitive areas where Trump is claiming executive privilege.

The move by the media took many by surprise and more than a few are suspicious over it:

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