Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro found guilty for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoena

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Peter Navarro, former White House trade advisor, outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., August 31. Navarro was convicted on two counts for criminal contempt after he refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP


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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Peter Navarro, former White House trade advisor, outside of the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., August 31. Navarro was convicted on two counts for criminal contempt after he refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Select Committee that investigated the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Peter Navarro, a former Trump adviser, was found guilty on Thursday of two counts criminal contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Committee investigating the attack that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2010. A federal jury deliberated less than four hour before reaching its verdict. Navarro is the second former Trump official, after Steve Bannon, to be prosecuted by the select committee for refusing to cooperate.


Navarro was initially subpoenaed in February 2022 by the select committee, which sought his testimony and demanded that he hand over documents related the investigation. Navarro was subpoenaed by the Democratic-led committee after he wrote in a book he published following his departure from the White House about his attempts to delay certification of the results of the 2020 elections. Navarro responded to the subpoena by claiming he wasn’t required to testify because he had been shielded from testimony due to executive privilege via former President Trump. Amit Mehta, a U.S. district court judge, dismissed this defense before Navarro’s case. With his conviction, Navarro now faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 for each charge.

Thursday’s verdict capped a two-day trial that featured less than three hours of witness testimony — none of which came from the defense team. Prosecutors said Navarro “chose allegiance to former President Donald Trump” over abiding by the congressional subpoena.

“Our government only works when people play by the rules and it only works when people are held accountable when they do not. When a person intentionally and deliberately chooses to defy a congressional subpoena, that is a crime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi said in her closing arguments on Thursday, according to

Politico

.

Because Navarro couldn’t make the argument about executive privilege, the prosecution only had to prove that the former aide received the subpoena, that the information the committee sought was relevant to its investigation and that Navarro intentionally chose not to adhere to subpoena’s demands.

Attorneys for Navarro sought to clear the former Trump adviser by asking the court at one point to consider that their client didn’t have any of the documents sought by the committee, the

Washington Post

reported. But Navarro never actually told the court he did not have the documents the committee was after.At another point in the trial, the defense tried to argue that prosecutors couldn’t prove that Navarro intentionally missed his scheduled deposition with the committee, according to the Post

. Stanley E. Woodward, the defense attorney, told the judge that they did not know if Navarro was stuck in the Metro. Woodward replied, “I don’t know,” when asked by the judge if his attendance was hindered. “

In seeking Navarro’s cooperation, the Jan. 6 committee said his own book detailed how he was involved in efforts to delay Congress’s certification of Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, as well as overturn the results.Navarro reportedly worked with Bannon and others to develop efforts to delay certification of the election results, the panel said. In his memoir, In Trump Time: My Journal of America’s Plague Year,

Navarrodescribed his work as the “last, best chance to snatch a stolen election from the Democrats’ jaws of deceit.” He described a “Green Bay Sweep,” a strategy designed to reverse the results in states that Biden won. As this week’s trial started, Navarro wrote on X, a social media platform formerly called Twitter, that “Trial starts an hour. I love the smell justice in the morning.” Can’t smell anything. He also claimed online on Tuesday that he is being tried for an “alleged crime” which no senior White House official has ever been charged with. This is the second guilty verdict for a former Trump adviser who failed to cooperate with the House Select Committee’s investigation into the attack on Jan. 6. Bannon, who served as a chief strategist and counselor to the former president, was sentenced to four months in prison last October for defying a subpoena from the committee, but remains free pending an appeal.

Navarro’s conviction is only the latest turn in the ongoing legal fallout from Jan. 6. Trump faces 91 criminal charges in federal and state court. Four of them are related to his alleged attempts to overturn election results.