Ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro found guilty of contempt of Congress

A jury has convicted him for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee.

September 7, 2023, 5:07 PM

A jury on Thursday found former Trump adviser Peter Navarro guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued in February 2022 by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

The verdict came 14 months after Trump adviser Steve Bannon was also convicted of defying a Jan. 6 committee subpoena. He was sentenced to four months in prison, pending an appeal.

Navarro, who under Donald Trump was director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, was convicted on one count over his refusal to appear for a deposition in front of the committee, and on a second count for refusing to produce documents.

Following the verdict, Navarro told reporters that he knew what the verdict would be and that he plans to appeal.

"That's why this is going to the appeals court," Navarro said. "This is going to the Supreme Court. I said from the beginning, I am willing to go to prison to settle this issue."

"We think that the evidence established that, in fact, President Trump instructed Dr. Navarro to invoke executive privilege," Navarro attorney John Irving told reporters. "This case is not over by a long shot."

Navarro attorney Stanley Woodward also moved for a mistrial on the grounds that the jury exited the building before returning a verdict and that they may have seen protesters while outside. The judge said he would not immediately rule on any mistrial motion.

PHOTO: Peter Navarro, an advisor to former President Donald Trump, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse on September 07, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Peter Navarro, an advisor to former President Donald Trump, arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse on September 07, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Prosecutors said during closing arguments Thursday that Navarro's failure to submit documents and testify before the committee was intentional, while the defense argued that Navarro was "communicative" with the committee despite not testifying or submitting documents.

Woodward said that Navarro told the committee that "his hands were tied" and claimed executive privilege.

During testimony Wednesday, David Buckley, a former staff director for the Jan. 6 committee, told jurors the committee had been seeking to question Navarro about efforts to delay Congress' certification of the 2020 election, a plan Navarro dubbed the "Green Bay Sweep" in his book, "In Trump Time."

Woodward agreed with prosecutors that Navarro did not submit documents or show up for testimony -- but, he said, the Jan. 6 committee failed to contact Trump to find out if he had asserted executive privilege over Navarro's testimony and document production.

Prosecutors argued that Navarro still "had to show up to his deposition."

"To cite the privilege, he had to do it on a question-by-question basis," lead prosecutor John Crabb said. "That was made clear to Mr. Navarro. He didn't show up."

Navarro could face a maximum of two years in prison and fines up to $200,000.