From his criminal charge, Steve Bannon is seeing how a judge can influence a case in federal court

Stephen Bannon

By Robert Willmann

The familiar statue or image of Lady Justice wearing a blindfold and holding balancing scales not tilted to one side or the other is an ideal. Sometimes you will see it in court, and sometimes not. A court proceeding is its own, highly controlled environment. Designed originally to resolve disputes, it has during the last 30 years become more bureaucratic, technocratic, and almost impossibly expensive for most people. But it is still a system operated by human beings, and can be studied and approached as such.

Even in the U.S. legal system, which allows jury trials in many but not all instances, the predominant player in a courtroom production is the person in the black robe. Especially in federal court, the judge presiding can significantly influence the course and result of a civil or criminal lawsuit. A judge decides which legal issues can ultimately exist in a case, what type of evidence can be presented about an issue, the scope of the evidence, how much of it a party can present, whether an expert witness is qualified to testify and the scope of an expert’s testimony, and so on. Human nature applies to judges also, which can unfortunately produce a whole range of problems.

Furthermore, laws can be badly written, or tilted in favor of one category of person or type of business, or in favor of a governmental organization. Some remedies can be so limited that a person cannot bring a lawsuit because the cost of putting on the case can be almost more expensive than a possible financial recovery. In a criminal case, a maximum possible sentence or mandatory minimum sentence can be so high as to cause a person to plead guilty instead of having a trial that would be justified by the facts.

Steve Bannon is the person who came in late in the 2016 presidential campaign and engineered Donald Trump’s victory in that election. He was in the Trump administration only a short while, but has continued visibly and vigorously to promote certain political and economic positions. For the last five years, the legal system has started to be used as a political weapon through civil cases, and has degenerated further with politically motivated criminal prosecutions. Bannon’s case is one of them.

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11 Responses to From his criminal charge, Steve Bannon is seeing how a judge can influence a case in federal court

  1. Whitewall says:

    And people thought the January 6 spectacle was an attempt to over throw ‘our democracy’. Our courts have been used to criminalize political differences, even sitting by when presidents weaponize Federal agencies against political opponents. Using our legal system as a weapon, in this case against Bannon and previously against General Flynn, are examples of democracy done badly. It is no longer political warfare but ‘lawfare’.

  2. Fred says:

    The cowardice of the judiciary on display; or more accurately the victory of AOC and the leftists in their campaign of judicial intimidation.

  3. JK/AR says:

    “It is obvious now that Judge Nichols is going to send the case to the jury,

    at which time what happens is anybody’s guess.”

    So far as the last part after the comma, No; guessing is unnecessary. The jury after all has been picked from the DC jury pool. That fact by itself provides us all we need to know where the “what happens” part is concerned. When the jury is sequestered for deliberations it’ll take them longer to order lunch than it will have had to decide Bannon’s guilt – and guilt it will be.

    Linking to a Viva Frei podcast – oh, about the first nine or ten minutes is spent establishing Julie Kelly’s bona fides then from there to about the 59 minute mark being mostly given over to discussing, generally, “the participants” roles in the Insurrection. From the point of Mrs. Kelly’s departure there begins the meat of Bannon’s “due process” kabuki-kangaroo:

  4. SRW says:

    What am I missing here. He willfully ignored a subpoena from the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. What could be more cut and dried. If he felt he could be charged with any offense he could take the 5th like Flynn. I guess he felt he had to obey only the laws he wanted to. Sounds something like his former boss.

    • PeterHug says:

      I’m not a lawyer, but it appears to me that you’re allowed to use the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions if you think you might incriminate yourself, and you might be able to try to use and Executive Privilege excuse (except he wasn’t employed by the Executive Branch, Trump is no longer President and therefore can’t invoke it, and in any cast Trump has waived that) – but you’re not allowed to ignore the subpoena entirely and just blow the whole thing off. I certainly wouldn’t expect to have much success with that approach…

      • JK/AR says:


        You do recall Eric Holder’s being convicted of “Contempt for Congress” and what happened after never?

        “Lying to Congress”? Fast and Furious ring any bells? Lying to the Government? (Heck that’s called April 15th).

        The USA’s been around only a relatively little while but still you’d think wouldn’t you PeterHug that Somebody/Anybody already would have got likewise found guilty of the same thing at least once before?!!!

        My God just think of the many times so so recently SIGAR came in and reported to Congress.

  5. Deap says:

    Jury verdict in: guilty on both counts.

  6. I’m glad you’re covering this; it’s an important case for its implications re us all.

  7. LeaNder says:

    JK/AR , don’t you feel that Bannon’s lawyers and supporters hired an expert in jury selection? There must be quite a few people in DC too that firmly believe the election was stolen. Concidering how many US citizen believe that was the case. Or has the percentage gone down not up?

    But I found Robert Willman’s article interesting.

    • JK/AR says:

      Just my personal opinion LeaNder but where the DC jury pool is concerned, an ‘selection expert’ most likely would not have mattered.

      So far as that “quite a few in DC believe” I think that’s a given – actually were one to divide up each square mile of the US into its separate parcels the highest percentage anywhere is likely DC itself – and not merely “believe” rather know it. (I read a couple of the suspected states’ constitutions and in each case only the legislatures were “lawfully” granted the power to make changes to the elections process. But for whatever reason both of the in question states because of Covid Emergency My Lawd! accepted officers of the Executive [Governor, Secretary of State etc] to make changes bereft of The People’s elected representative’s input – that too pesky ‘advise and consent’ bit.) So much for that ‘Consent of the Governed’ crap that, we *know since the Patriot Act’s passage is now so passe. “Outlived its original intent’ in other words.

      (Bearing in mind as we must always – our current state of affairs we owe to bi-partisanship. History LeaNder records Senator Wyden’s so many objections and hearings right up until the point his *party got control of DHS.)

      Just my opinion but I think Mrs. Powell and the kite flying Doctor who met on the steps in 1787 would be today, pessimistic at best.

      Willman’s posts are always of interest to me.

  8. JK/AR says:

    Okay now where was I?

    Oh yeah. I’d been waiting for the post conviction real “lawyer analysis” of the foregone conclusion of Guilty On All Counts DC *impartial jury that Bannon received.

    Push this up to the forty-four minute timestamp and proceed from there:

    Amazing! Justice in America. … Well in Washington DC anyway.

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