Siding with the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge on Tuesday ordered former White House strategist Steve Bannon to appear before the agency in connection with its ongoing investigation into Cambridge Analytica's data harvesting.
U.S. District Court Judge Christopher Cooper in Washington, D.C. rejected Bannon's request to delay his appearance until after the conclusion of an unrelated criminal fraud case, which centers on money raised for a Mexican border wall. Bannon pleaded not guilty in the matter, and is scheduled to go to trial in May.
Last month, the FTC sought an order to compel Bannon's testimony about Cambridge Analytica.
The agency said in court papers that it is investigating Bannon's potential personal liability, and wants to discover whether the data gathered by the defunct right-wing consultancy was shared with anyone else.
The agency argued that it shouldn't have to wait until the conclusion of Bannon's criminal trial before questioning him, and noted that he could refuse to answer specific questions, if doing so would be incriminating.
The FTC found last year that Cambridge Analytica illegally harvested personal information of millions of Facebook users. '
Cambridge Analytica gleaned the data from Global Science Research's Alexsandr Kogan, who collected it in 2014 via his personality-quiz app "thisisyourdigitallife."
The FTC said Cambridge Analytica deceived users because Kogan's app represented that it didn't download names or other identifiable information.
The agency also fined Facebook $5 billion for allegedly violating a prior consent decree by allowing Cambridge Analytica (and other developers) to access users' data.