Prosecutors in the federal criminal case against Stephen K. Bannon want his current attorneys to stay on, at least until replacements step forward.
From the letter, filed on Sunday:
To ensure an orderly transition of representation and to prevent undue delay, the Government respectfully requests that the Court not permit defense counsel to withdraw until new counsel is retained and appears in this case on behalf of the defendant (or the defendant is appointed counsel after demonstrating eligibility by filing the required financial affidavit). In the absence of the appearance (or appointment) of new counsel that will represent the defendant throughout the pending proceedings and can assure the Court that no delay will be occasioned by the transition to new counsel, the Government would object to the withdrawal of counsel.
Bannon is charged with allegedly participating in a money laundering scheme surrounding a privately funded wall at the U.S.-Mexico border. He and co-defendants including Brian Kolfage used donations to instead fund Kolfage’s “lavish lifestyle,” prosecutors have said.
Bannon attorney William Burck announced in early November that his law firm Quinn Emanuel was leaving the case, and the defendant was getting new counsel. This just happened to be the day after Bannon suggested putting the heads of FBI Director Christopher Wray and Dr. Anthony Fauci on pikes.
“I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England,” Bannon said at the time. “I’d put the heads on pikes, right. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats. You either get with the program or you are gone.”
In announcing their departure, his attorneys got the court to postpone a status conference to this Wednesday in order to make time for the transition, records show. This request was unopposed at the time, but no replacements have entered an appearance in court. Now the DOJ wants Burck and co-counsel Daniel Rickert Koffmann to stay on.
The defense did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
You can read the DOJ’s letter here.
[Image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]
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