Home U.S. NEWS Peter Navarro: Ex-Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress

Peter Navarro: Ex-Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress

Peter Navarro: Ex-Trump adviser convicted of contempt of Congress

Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro has been convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with an investigation into alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election result.

Prosecutors said Navarro acted “above the law” in ignoring a subpoena from a congressional investigation.

He faces up to a year in prison for each of the two cases of contempt.

Another key Trump ally, former strategist Steve Bannon, was convicted of contempt of Congress last year.

Speaking in court in Washington DC Thursday, Navarro said it was a “sad day for America” ​​and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

“This is the first time in our republic’s history,” he said, “that a senior White House aide, an alter ego of the President, has been indicted in this alleged crime.”

He argued that the Justice Department’s policy for more than 50 years was that senior White House advisers could not be compelled to testify before Congress.

“Nevertheless, they filed the case,” Navarro said.

After four hours of deliberation and a two-day trial, the 12-person jury found him guilty.

In addition to an appeal, Navarro’s lawyers are seeking a mistrial because the jury was outside the courtroom during their deliberations and encountered protesters.

Navarro, who served as senior trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, received a subpoena from a special committee of the US House of Representatives in February 2022.

However, he did not turn over any of the requested emails or documents, nor did he appear to testify before the Democrat-led panel.

According to a former panel chief of staff who testified in court, the committee had hoped to question Navarro about his efforts to delay confirmation of the 2020 election.

In his 2021 book In Trump Time, Navarro said he architected a strategy to contest the election results and claimed it was widespread voter fraud.

The plan called for Congressional Republicans to delay confirming President Joe Biden’s victory.

Navarro called this strategy the “Green Bay Sweep,” a reference to an American football tactic.

The House Committee said Navarro’s allegations of massive voter fraud have been debunked by state and local officials as baseless.

Navarro was charged in June last year and arrested by FBI agents at a Washington airport as he was boarding a flight bound for Nashville, Tennessee.

During their closing arguments, prosecutors said Navarro chose his allegiance to Mr Trump over compliance with the subpoena.

“That’s contempt. This is a crime,” prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi said in court.

Navarro’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, presented little evidence during the trial, instead attempting to discredit the prosecutor’s case.

When the committee contacted him, Navarro said Mr Trump directed him to invoke leadership privilege.

This is a legal principle that allows certain communications from the White House to be kept secret.

But last week Justice Amit Mehta, an Obama nominee, ruled there was no evidence Mr Trump or executive branch privileges could have allowed Navarro to ignore the committee’s subpoena.

As well as a maximum sentence of one year in prison for each charge, Navarro also faces fines of up to US$100,000 (£80,000).

His sentencing is scheduled for January.

Bryan Lanza, a former Trump campaign adviser, told the BBC the prosecution appears to be politically motivated.

“It’s not uncommon for Congress to despise former or current members of the presidential administration,” he said.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder

Lawmakers found former Attorney General Eric Holder to be in contempt of Congress, but he was not prosecuted

“It’s unusual for the actual Department of Justice to drive these prosecutions.”

He cited the example of former US Attorney General Eric Holder under Democratic President Barack Obama, who was convicted in 2012 by a Republican-controlled Congress of contempt for refusing to turn over subpoenaed documents but was not prosecuted.

“We are walking a dangerous path by escalating these things,” Mr Lanza said.

“It’s not good for our system of government,” he added.

Former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt in July 2022 for defying a court subpoena from the House Committee.

Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison but remained free while his defense team appealed the sentence.


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