Ex-Trump aide Peter Navarro sentenced to 4 months in prison for defying Jan. 6 committee subpoena

ByKatherine Faulders and Laura Romero ABCNews logo
Thursday, January 25, 2024
Peter Navarro, Trump aide, indicted for defying Jan. 6 panel
Former President Donald Trump aide Peter Navarro was indicted for defying the Jan. 6 panel.

Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro was sentenced to four months in jail and ordered to pay a $9,500 fine Thursday for defying a congressional subpoena to cooperate with the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

This is a developing story. The video is from a previous report.

Navarro was convicted in September on one count of contempt of Congress over his refusal to appear for a deposition in front of the committee, and on a second count for refusing to produce documents.

At his sentencing hearing in federal court Thursday, Navarro told U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta that he had "an honest belief" that executive privilege had been invoked by former President Donald Trump when he received the subpoena -- an argument that prosecutors had disputed at trial

Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro talks to the media as he arrives at U.S. Federal Courthouse in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.
Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro talks to the media as he arrives at U.S. Federal Courthouse in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

He added that Jan 6. 2021, was "one of the worst" days.

"The minute that violence erupted on Capitol Hill, it was one of the worst days of my life," Navarro said.

Navarro's attorney, Stanley Woodward, also argued that Navarro wasn't the only person who didn't comply with a subpoena from the House select committee.

"Dan Scavino did not provide testimony; Mark Meadows did not provide any testimony," he said, though the DOJ did not bring contempt charges against either of those two White House officials.

Judge Mehta also challenged Woodward's claim that Navarro has "accepted responsibility" for his crime.

"I haven't heard a single word of contrition since this case began," the judge said.

Ample evidence has emerged over the last year of what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Navarro is the second Trump adviser to be convicted and sentenced for refusing to cooperate with the Jan. 6 panel, after Steve Bannon was found guilty in July of defying a Jan. 6 committee subpoena.

Bannon was subsequently sentenced to four months in prison, pending an appeal.

Prosecutors had asked for Navarro, who under Trump was director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, to be sentenced to six months behind bars.

"The mandatory minimum sentence of one month in prison is insufficient to account for, punish, and deter the Defendant's criminal offense," prosecutors wrote last week. "For each Count, the Court should instead impose a sentence of six months' imprisonment -- the top end of the applicable Guidelines' advisory sentencing range -- and fine the Defendant $100,000."

In their memo, prosecutors said the six-month sentence for each count could be served concurrently.

Navarro's attorneys had requested that the court sentence him to no more than six months and require he pay a fine of $100 for each count.

The Jan. 6 committee's 17-month probe, which concluded with the release of its final report in December 2022, determined there was a "multi-part conspiracy to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 Presidential election." Among the panel's 11 recommendations were that Congress affirm the way electoral votes are certified; that it bolster efforts to combat violent extremism and threats to election workers; and that it improve the effectiveness of the Capitol Police.