A federal jury in Washington started deliberating on Thursday within the prison trial of Peter Navarro, a high aide to President Donald J. Trump, who’s charged with contempt of Congress after he ignored a subpoena final yr from the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6 assault.
In delivering closing arguments, prosecutors and protection legal professionals largely agreed on the details within the case: that Mr. Navarro balked when ordered to cooperate with the panel. However in competition was whether or not that act amounted to a willful defiance of Congress, or a easy misunderstanding between Mr. Navarro and the committee’s workers.
“The defendant, Peter Navarro, made a selection,” mentioned Elizabeth Aloi, a prosecutor. “He didn’t wish to comply and produce paperwork, and he didn’t wish to testify, so he didn’t.”
Detailing the Home committee’s correspondence with Mr. Navarro, Ms. Aloi mentioned that even after the panel requested Mr. Navarro to clarify any opposition he needed to giving sworn testimony, he continued to stonewall.
“The defendant selected allegiance to President Trump over compliance with the subpoena,” she mentioned. “That’s contempt. That could be a crime.”
Stanley Woodward Jr., a lawyer for Mr. Navarro, countered that the federal government had merely failed to indicate that Mr. Navarro’s choice to not comply was something aside from “inadvertence, accident or mistake.”
If Mr. Navarro had been to be convicted on the 2 counts of contempt of Congress he’s charged with, he may resist a yr in jail and a nice of as much as $100,000 for every depend.
Evoking pictures of violence and chaos on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors additionally emphasised the position that Mr. Navarro’s habits after the 2020 election could have performed in drawing scores of rioters to Washington that day to disrupt Congress’s certification of the outcomes.
That brought about Mr. Woodward to bristle, telling the jury repeatedly that the federal government was counting on emotional descriptions of Jan. 6 to tarnish Mr. Navarro’s picture, reasonably than proving he ever supposed to blow off lawmakers.
“This case just isn’t about what occurred on Jan. 6,” Mr. Woodward mentioned. “What occurred on Jan. 6 was abhorrent.”
Because the Jan. 6 committee sought to interview senior White Home aides final yr, Mr. Navarro and Stephen Ok. Bannon, a former strategist and adviser to Mr. Trump, stood out for his or her baseless statements about election fraud, workers members who had labored on the committee mentioned in testimony on Wednesday.
Particularly, Mr. Navarro and Mr. Bannon had collaborated on a method, referred to as the Inexperienced Bay Sweep, supposed to encourage Congress to reject the outcomes of the election in key swing states that had been referred to as for Joseph R. Biden Jr.
“It turned clear to members of the investigative workers that efforts to overturn the 2020 election straight fed into the unrest on the Capitol,” Marc Harris, a senior investigative counsel, testified.
However whilst others in Mr. Trump’s internal circle cooperated, to a level, with the committee, Mr. Navarro and Mr. Bannon blatantly disregarded its calls for.
Each males claimed that their choice rested on the truth that Mr. Trump had asserted govt privilege to dam them from testifying. However after each had been indicted on contempt of Congress costs, federal judges dominated that these claims, for various causes, didn’t quantity to a legitimate protection in courtroom.
In Mr. Navarro’s case, Choose Amit P. Mehta discovered that he by no means marshaled convincing proof that Mr. Trump had personally instructed him to disregard the subpoena. In a listening to earlier than the trial, Choose Mehta additionally mentioned that even when the previous president had clearly asserted that privilege, the committee was not in search of to interview Mr. Navarro about his non-public conversations with Mr. Trump, which is what would historically be protected.
Accordingly, Choose Mehta instructed jurors on Thursday that any point out of govt privilege through the trial couldn’t be thought of a protection for Mr. Navarro’s conduct.
“Even when he believed he had an excuse, it doesn’t matter,” Ms. Aloi mentioned moments later. “He needed to adjust to the subpoena it doesn’t matter what, and assert any privileges in the best way Congress set forth.”