WASHINGTON (AP) — A Trump White House official convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol is set to be sentenced Thursday.
Prosecutors are asking a judge to sentence Peter Navarro to six months behind bars and impose a $200,000 fine. He was the second Trump aide to face contempt of Congress charges.
Navarro was found guilty of defying a subpoena for documents and a deposition from the House Jan. 6 committee. Navarro served as a White House trade adviser under then-President Donald Trump and later promoted the Republican’s baseless claims of mass voter fraud in the 2020 election he lost.
Navarro has vowed to appeal the verdict, saying he couldn’t cooperate with the committee because Trump had invoked executive privilege. A judge barred him from making that argument at trial, however, finding that he didn’t show Trump had actually invoked it.
Justice Department prosecutors say Navarro tried to “hide behind claims of privilege” even before he knew exactly what the committee wanted, showing a “disdain” for the committee that should warrant a longer sentence.
Defense attorneys, on the other hand, said Trump did claim executive privilege, putting Navarro in an “untenable position,” and the former adviser should be sentenced to probation and a $100 fine.
Navarro was the second Trump aide to face contempt of Congress charges. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon was convicted of two counts and was sentenced to four months behind bars, though he has been free while appealing his conviction.
Navarro’s sentencing comes after a judge rejected his bid for a new trial. His attorneys had argued that jurors may have been improperly influenced by political protesters outside the courthouse when they took a break from deliberations. Shortly after their break, the jury found him guilty of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress.
But U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta found that Navarro didn’t show that the eight-minute break had any effect on the September verdict. No protest was underway and no one approached the jury — they only interacted with each other and the court officer assigned to accompany them, he found.