Steve Bannon lawyers seek to withdraw after Fauci beheading comment

Former White House senior counselor to President Donald Trump Steve Bannon leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse after he testified at the Roger Stone trial November 8, 2019 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong | Getty ImagesThe criminal defense lawyers for former top Trump advisor Steve Bannon will seek to withdraw from the case, just a day after Bannon discussed having the FBI’s director and federal infectious-diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci beheaded.”Mr. Bannon is in the process of retaining new counsel, and [the firm of] Quinn Emanuel intends to move to withdraw,” wrote his lead attorney, William Burck, in the filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, where Bannon is scheduled to go on trial next May.Burck on Friday asked for a three-week continuance of a status conference in the case, which currently is scheduled for Monday.”Mr. Bannon respectfully requests that the status conference in this matter be adjourned for three weeks so that he may formally retain new counsel,” Burck wrote.In this Aug. 25, 2014 file photo, Attorney Bill Burck walks to court in Richmond, Va.Steve Helber | APBannon, the former head of the conservative news site Breitbart, is free on $5 million bond in the case, where he and three co-defendants are accused of defrauding donors to a nonprofit group set up to supposedly fund building a wall on the southern border of the United States.He has pleaded not guilty.Burck declined to comment to CNBC.A spokeswoman for Bannon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Bannon ran President Donald Trump’s winning campaign in the latter part of the 2016 cycle.He later served in the White House as a senior advisor to Trump before the president fired him in August 2017.Twitter on Thursday permanently suspended the account of Bannon’s podcast, “War Room: Pandemic,” after his comments about Fauci and FBI chief Christopher Wray on that show, when he was discussing a hypothetical second term for Trump.The episode was removed by YouTube as well.On his podcast, Bannon had said, “Second term kicks off with firing Wray, firing Fauci.””Now I actually want to go a step farther, but I realize the president is a kind-hearted man and a good man,” Bannon continued.”I’d actually like to go back to the old times of Tudor England, 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’re gone – time to stop playing games.”Bannon’s spokeswoman said that he was not suggesting that Fauci and Wray be beheaded.She also said he has “never called for violence of any kind.””Mr. Bannon’s commentary was clearly meant metaphorically. He previously played a clip of St. Thomas More’s trial and was making an allusion to this historical event in Tudor England for rhetorical purposes,” the spokeswoman said.”Mr. Bannon has been openly critical of FBI Director Chris Wray for weeks and has called for his firing for his failure to investigate and address Hunter Biden’s hard drive and that has been in Director Wray’s possession since in Dec 2019,” she said.”In addition, Mr. Bannon has supported comments from the White House calling for the immediate firing of Dr. Fauci.”A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which is prosecuting Bannon and his three co-defendants in the case, declined to comment Thursday when asked if that office will seek to revoke Bannon’s release bond because of his comments.A Twitter spokeperson in a statement Thursday said, “The @WarRoomPandemic account has been permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules, specifically our policy on the glorification of violence.”Alex Joseph, a spokesperson for YouTube, which is owned by Google, said, “We’ve removed this video for violating our policy against inciting violence. We will continue to be vigilant as we enforce our policies in the post-election period.”

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