Judge Denies Peter Navarro a New Trial in Contempt of Congress Conviction

US District Judge Amit Mehta on Tuesday declined Peter Navarro a do-over of his criminal contempt of Congress trial based on his claim that the jurors may have been influenced by political protesters when they took a break during deliberations.

“No one directed any words or displayed any signs at them. No one approached them. Moreover, the scene itself was relatively placid. There was no indiscriminate yelling or chanting. No one held a sign above their head. There were no activities resembling a ‘protest,’” the judge added.  “Simply put, Defendant has failed to show that he was prejudiced in any way by the jury’s brief break in John Marshall Park,” Mehta wrote.

Mehta also determined that Navarro’s counsel knew about the jury’s potential exposure to protestors before its verdict was issued but waited to see if the jury would rule in their favor before raising concern. Because of that, they waived it as grounds for a new trial, he wrote. “A defendant cannot learn of alleged improper external influence on the jury, remain silent and gamble on a favorable verdict, only to complain afterwards that a new trial is warranted because the jury was unduly prejudiced by that outside influence,” Mehta wrote. “That is precisely what occurred here.”

The former Trump advisor was convicted in September 2023 on two counts for not complying with a 2022 subpoena issued by the now-disbanded House select committee that investigated the January 6 insurrection riot.

Navarro’s sentencing is set for January 25.

According to the Justice Department, each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000. The judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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