U.S. judge declines to acquit ex-Trump adviser Bannon, but mulls dismissing charges

WASHINGTON, July 27 (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday declined a request to acquit Donald Trump's former presidential adviser Steve Bannon on two contempt charges for defying a subpoena from a congressional committee investigating the 2021 Capitol attack, but he left open the door to consider dismissing the charges instead.

A jury on Friday found Bannon, 68, guilty of two misdemeanor counts for refusing to provide testimony or documents to the House of Representatives select committee as it scrutinizes the Jan. 6, 2021, rampage by Trump's supporters.

In Wednesday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said Bannon's last-ditch request for the court to acquit him of the charges lacked merit.

"The court concludes that the evidence presented in the government’s case was sufficient to sustain a conviction," Nichols wrote.

However, the judge said he still wants both parties to provide additional legal briefs before he can rule on Bannon's second request that Nichols dismiss the charges.

Bannon renewed his request to dismiss the case last week, with his lawyers arguing he could not get a fair trial after Nichols previously quashed Bannon's motion to be allowed to subpoena top House Democrats, including the select committee's chairman.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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