Peter Navarro, a commerce advisor to former United States President Donald Trump, has been convicted of two misdemeanor counts of legal contempt, after prosecutors mentioned he defied a congressional subpoena compelling him to submit proof in regards to the 2021 Capitol assault.
A 12-member jury deliberated for 4 hours on Thursday earlier than handing within the verdict in a federal district court docket in Washington, DC.
“The defendant selected allegiance to former President Trump over compliance with the subpoena,” prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi mentioned of Navarro in Thursday’s closing arguments. “That’s contempt. That may be a crime.”
‘Navarro made a selection’
The subpoena had referred to as Navarro to testify and submit paperwork to a choose committee within the Home of Representatives investigating the lethal Capitol assault on January 6, 2021.
On the time, supporters of then-President Trump stormed the Capitol, in an try and overturn the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
An advisor for Trump’s 2016 presidential marketing campaign and later for his White Home, Navarro had been a vocal advocate of the false perception that the 2020 election had been “stolen” from Trump — a perception that helped inspire the January 6 assault.
“Peter Navarro made a selection. He selected not abide by the congressional subpoena,” Aloi advised jurors.
However Navarro’s defence staff rejected that argument, saying the prosecutors did not show he had “willfully” prevented the subpoena.
Navarro’s noncompliance, defence lawyer Stanley Woodward defined, may have been the results of “inadvertence, accident or mistake”.
“We don’t know that he wasn’t caught on the metro,” Woodward mentioned of his shopper’s failure to look earlier than the Home choose committee on March 2, 2022. He argued that prosecutors had did not pin down precisely the place Navarro was or what he was doing at the moment, leaving doubt over whether or not his actions amounted to contempt.
Shortly after the decision, Woodward additionally moved for a mistrial, claiming that jurors had interacted with protesters throughout an outside lunch break on Thursday. Decide Amit Mehta, who presided over the case, referred to as for extra info to be introduced earlier than he dominated both method.
Government privilege argument barred
Mehta had beforehand barred the defence from presenting the argument that Navarro’s actions have been protected below govt privilege, as a former member of the Trump White Home.
Navarro and different Trump officers have maintained that the previous president directed them to not cooperate with the January 6 investigation. Nevertheless, Mehta dominated that there was no proof such an order was ever given: “I nonetheless don’t know what the president mentioned.”
After the decision, Navarro blamed Mehta’s choice for the jury’s consequence.
“The day that Decide Mehta dominated that I couldn’t use govt privilege because the protection on this case, the die was solid,” Navarro advised reporters.
The Trump advisor additionally took to social media to denounce the proceedings as politically motivated and lift cash for his defence.
“Jury in deliberations now. We’re in God’s palms,” he wrote as he awaited the decision. “The one factor sure are extra authorized payments. That’s the Democrat’s lawfare sport.”
Sentencing within the case is scheduled for January 12, 2024. Navarro faces wherever from 30 days to a yr in jail, in addition to a positive as much as $100,000.
A speedy trial
The trial occurred swiftly, with the prosecution calling three witnesses and the defence calling none in any respect.
Two of the prosecution witnesses served as investigative counsel on the now-defunct Home choose committee. The third was the committee’s employees director.
Of their testimony, they defined that they’d deliberate to query Navarro over his allegations of widespread voter fraud, claims which have by no means been confirmed.
Investigators had hoped to zero in on initiatives just like the “Inexperienced Bay Sweep”, a method define Navarro and his fellow advisor Bannon had devised to allegedly maintain Trump in energy.
Named for a celebrated US soccer staff, the Inexperienced Bay Packers, the “Inexperienced Bay Sweep” proposed to stress key battleground states to decertify their election outcomes and use Republican members of Congress to delay the certification of the Electoral School votes on January 6, 2021.
The Home choose committee investigating the January 6 Capitol assault concluded its work in December 2022, with out receiving proof from Navarro or Bannon.
In its last report, nonetheless, the committee accused Trump and his allies of main a “multi-part conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 presidential election, culminating within the assault. It additionally really helpful legal fees.
Trump has since confronted 4 legal indictments, two of which pertain to alleged interference within the 2020 election. One is on the state degree, the opposite federal. Trump is the primary president, present or former, to face legal fees. He has denied all wrongdoing.
Bannon, in the meantime, was sentenced in October 2022 to 4 months in jail after being convicted of two counts of contempt for failing to cooperate along with his subpoena from the January 6 committee.
He additionally faces a $6,500 positive. However the sentence is presently on maintain, as Bannon pursues an enchantment.