A federal jury on Thursday found Peter Navarro, who served as a trade adviser to former U.S. President Donald Trump, guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the congressional panel that probed the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
Despite a February 2022 subpoena from the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, Navarro declined to turn over documents or show up for a deposition, resulting in the two contempt convictions.
Each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Navarro intends to appeal the unanimous verdict—which came after a two-day trial with testimony from three committee staffers and four hours of deliberation, according to Politico.
Advocacy groups and legal experts welcomed the development on social media, with the pro-democracy organization Common Cause saying, “Hold everyone accountable.”
Los Angeles Times senior legal affairs columnist Harry Litman said: “Open and shut case really. And a righteous one. He just completely thumbed his nose at the committee and his legal obligations.”
Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), declared that “in an administration defined by lawlessness, Peter Navarro was one of the most lawless—routinely violating the Hatch Act and pushing bogus claims that the 2020 election was stolen. It is positive that he was convicted of contempt of Congress.”
As The Hill reported:
Just after the verdict was read, Navarro attorney Stan Woodward called for a mistrial, claiming the jurors [who] went outside during their break were exposed to protestors toting January 6-related signs. Government prosecutors said they did not see any protestors outside the exit the jurors purportedly used.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said he would not rule on the mistrial request until the defense provided him video or photo evidence of such a situation, which they said they were collecting.
Mehta has scheduled Navarro’s sentencing for January 12, 2024.
Navarro is the second aide of Trump—who is the front-runner for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination, despite his various legal issues—to be convicted of contempt of Congress, after Steve Bannon.
Last year, Bannon was also found guilty of two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the January 6 panel. The ex-president’s former chief strategist was sentenced to four months in prison but remains free during the appeals process.