Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro sentenced for contempt of Congress amidst Capitol attack probe

Navarro faced charges for defying a subpoena issued by the House select committee

Peter Navarro, adviser to former US president Donald Trump, faces reporters after he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, following his trial at US District Court in Washington, US, September 7, 2023. —Reuters
Peter Navarro, adviser to former US president Donald Trump, faces reporters after he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with the House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol, following his trial at US District Court in Washington, US, September 7, 2023. —Reuters

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro has been sentenced to four months in jail for contempt of Congress amid a congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack, CNN reported. 

Navarro faced charges for defying a subpoena issued by the House select committee probing the attack and was convicted on two counts in September.

Prosecutors sought a sentence of six months for each count to be served concurrently, along with a $200,000 fine. They argued that Navarro’s refusal to comply with the subpoenas mirrored the conduct of some participants in the Capitol riot, asserting that he prioritised politics over the nation and obstructed Congress’s investigation. 

Navarro’s decision to not cooperate with the committee was viewed as aligning with the interests of former President Donald Trump. 

This marks another triumph for the disbanded House January 6 committee, following the conviction of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in 2022 on similar charges. Bannon received a four-month prison sentence, and his case is currently under appeal.

Navarro’s trial, which concluded swiftly in September, presented evidence that the committee had valid reasons to subpoena him, and he was well-informed about these demands. 

Prosecutors argued that Navarro possessed knowledge about a plan to disrupt Congress on January 6 but refused to share it with the House committee.

Navarro’s defence centred on his claim that he didn’t comply with the subpoena on Trump’s directive, who allegedly invoked executive privilege. However, the trial judge, Amit Mehta, ruled that Navarro failed to prove that Trump formally asserted any privilege that would exempt him from appearing before the committee.

While Navarro’s attorneys seek probation for their client during the appeal, the case is expected to address crucial questions about the invocation of executive privilege by former presidents for their senior advisors. 

The federal appeals court in DC is currently reviewing Bannon’s appeal, questioning the trial court’s handling of executive privilege claims during his case.

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