Judge says no new trial for ex-Trump advisor Peter Navarro

 January 18, 2024

A federal judge denied a request for a new trial by former Donald Trump advisor Peter Navarro, who was convicted of defying a subpoena by the January 6 House committee, which is now defunct.

Navarro's lawyers said that protesters outside the courtroom during the trial influenced jurors when they took breaks outside during deliberations.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said Tuesday that jurors did not have direct contact with the protesters and that Navarro showed no evidence that they were influenced in any way by protests.

"The evidence establishes that the jurors only interacted with each other and [Court Security Officer] Torres in John Marshall Park," Mehta wrote in his ruling. "No one directed any words or displayed any signs at them."

Failed to show "prejudice"

"Defendant not only fails to demonstrate prejudice, he has not shown that any juror was actually exposed to any improper external influence," Mehta ruled.

Navarro was convicted on two counts, one for refusing to appear for a deposition and one for refusing to produce requested documents.

The subpoenas were issued in February 2022, and Navarro was convicted in September 2023.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on the charges on January 25.

Equal treatment?

The conviction is interesting in light of the House's current attempts to hold Hunter Biden in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena in December.

Press coverage of the hearing pointed out that the DOJ is unlikely to prosecute Biden for his defiance because he is the president's son, although President Joe Biden had said previously that he hoped those who defied subpoenas from the January 6 committee would be prosecuted.

Further, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) was also subpoenaed, but never faced contempt charges and was not prosecuted. He's now leading the charge to hold Biden in contempt.

It's painful to see someone face jail time for a crime that others have also committed.

Why should Navarro be prosecuted for something the president's son and a congressional leader have also done when they get off scot-free?

It's time to decide how serious an offense defying a subpoena is, and what the actual consequences should be.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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