D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols has rejected a lengthy argument from former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon to delay his contempt of Congress trial, ruling that it will begin Monday morning with jury selection.   

Bannon defense attorney David Schoen argued that the recent release of audio by Mother Jones could bias prospective jurors. In the recording, he had predicted days before the 2020 election that President Trump would declare victory on election night, while it looked like he led, since mail-in votes, which were expected to favor Joe Biden, would be counted more slowly in several battleground states.

“What Trump’s gonna do is just declare victory. Right? He’s gonna declare victory. But that doesn’t mean he’s a winner,” Bannon told a group of people in the audio published by Mother Jones. “He’s just gonna say he’s a winner.”  

Schoen also argued the Jan. 6 committee hearing on Tuesday, in which his “all hell is gonna break loose” statement was broadcast, would bias jurors.  

Nichols knocked down all of these arguments and responded that the jury selection process is the best remedy for bias.  

The House Jan. 6 select committee subpoenaed Bannon in September 2021 because of news reports that he had urged former President Trump to focus on Jan. 6 — when Congress would receive the Electoral College ballots and affirm Mr. Biden’s victory — and had tried to coax members of Congress to vote against certifying the 2020 presidential election.  

Bannon’s defense team has already informed the court that it plans to appeal either for before or after his trial. 

But the judge has left the door open, for now, to allowing Bannon to present evidence to jurors about his 11th hour offer to testify to the Jan. 6 committee. Schoen indicated they plan to argue that Bannon thought the committee’s Oct.14, 2021 subpoena deadline was “malleable” or “negotiable.”

Nichols said he’ll make final determination on that “deadline” defense next week but will want to hear an argument from Bannon first.