A federal jury found Peter Navarro, a former adviser to President Trump, guilty on two counts of contempt of Congress. Sentencing was scheduled for Jan. 12. Navarro was charged with refusing to cooperate with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, Roll Call reports. Navarro argued that he should be shielded from testifying under the executive privilege principle. Federal judge Amit Mehta found no evidence that Trump invoked executive privilege and said that it couldn’t serve as a defense. Committee investigators testified that they wanted to speak with Navarro because of his public statements alleging fraud in the 2020 election. Prosecutor Elizabeth Aloi said he deliberately chose not to follow the committee’s subpoena. “The defendant was more than happy to share that knowledge with the public, with his book, with the news, with anyone who asked, except for the congressional committee who could do something about it,” Aloi said.
After the verdict, Navarro told reporters he planned to appeal the case over the executive privilege issue. Navarro called no defense witnesses. Navarro attorney Stan Woodward focused much of his closing argument on whether the government had proved Navarro willfully defied the subpoena. Before Mehta instructed the jury, he rejected Woodward’s effort to show the jury a map of the Capitol complex as part of an argument that the government didn’t prove where Navarro was at the time of his scheduled deposition. Mehta added that the jury shouldn’t hold against Navarro statements that described the deadly attack as “domestic terrorism” and “causing trauma” that were part of the House resolution establishing the select committee. Prosecutions for contempt of Congress are rare. The only other one in the last decade occurred last year, also tied to a subpoena from the House Select Committee investigating the attack.