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‘Relishing prospect of martyrdom’: Steve Bannon accused of treating trial as theatre arriving for court in three shirts


Jury selection is underway in the trial of Steve Bannon, the right-wing activist and one-time adviser to former president Donald Trump, who was indicted on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the events leading up to and during the 6 January Capitol riot.

Arriving for Jury selection on Monday at the E Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, DC, Mr Bannon was accused of showboating by some observers because he appeared in his customary multiple layers of clothing. Specifically, Mr Bannon wore three shirts.

Senior legal affairs reporter for Politico Josh Gerstein noted the multiple shirts in a tweet and a lack of tie when appearing in court.

Obama-era US attorney Joyce Alene tweeted in response: “Good indication he’s treating this as theater & relishing the prospect of martyrdom.”

Others pointed out that it was over 90F (32C) in Washington, DC, and three shirts plus a jacket was “insanity”.

Indeed prior to his arrival at court, there was speculation on Twitter about how many shirts the Trump ally would be wearing in the midst of a humid DC summer.

Writer Adam Best noted: “He’s under his usual quota by about four shirts”, while another person quipped that it was his “summer look”.

More on social media simply wanted to know why he wears so many shirts, while others wondered how many shirts inmates are issued at a time.

Mr Bannon’s trial follows a flurry of activity in the case since 9 July. Over a week ago, the former White House strategist notified the committee that he was now willing to testify. His lawyer, Robert Costello, said the change was because former President Trump waived his executive privilege claim from preventing the testimony.

The former adviser was one of the most prominent of the Trump-allied holdouts refusing to testify before the committee. Mr Bannon previously argued that his testimony was protected by Trump’s claim of executive privilege.

However, the committee noted that Mr Trump fired Mr Bannon from the White House in 2017 and he was, therefore, a private citizen when he was consulting with the then-president just prior to the Capitol riot.

Additional reporting by AP


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