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Prosecutors ask for six-month prison sentence for Peter Navarro for defying congressional subpoena

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Peter Navarro, an advisor to former President Donald Trump, speaks to reporters as he arrives at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse on September 7, 2023 in Washington, DC.



CNN
 — 

Federal prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge in Washington, DC, to sentence Peter Navarro to six months in prison for defying a congressional subpoena.

Navarro – a former Donald Trump trade adviser – was convicted last year by a jury in Washington on two counts of contempt of Congress for not complying with a 2022 subpoena issued by the now-disbanded House select committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Each count carries a mandatory minimum sentence of one month in prison, but prosecutors said in a filing to the judge overseeing the case that Navarro’s conduct justifies a harsher sentence.

“The mandatory minimum sentence of one month in prison is insufficient to account for, punish, and deter the Defendant’s criminal offenses,” prosecutors told US District Judge Amit Mehta. “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.”

Prosecutors noted that the proposed six-month sentence for each count could be served concurrently.

Navarro’s sentencing is set for January 25.

The 20-page sentencing request is extremely critical of Navarro, with prosecutors likening his defiance of the subpoena to the conduct of those who participated in the Capitol riot.

“The rioters who overran the Capitol on January 6, 2021, did not just attack a building – they assaulted the rule of law upon which this country was built and through which it endures. By flouting the Committee’s subpoena and its authority to investigate that assault, the Defendant exacerbated that assault, following the attack on Congress with his rejection of its authority,” prosecutors told Mehta.

“Respect for the rule of law is essential to the functioning of the United States government and to preserving the freedom and good order this country has enjoyed for more than two centuries,” they wrote. “The Defendant’s bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt deserves severe punishment.”

Navarro’s attorneys asked Mehta in their own filing Thursday evening to sentence him to a maximum of six months of probation for each count.

“Dr. Navarro’s sentencing should reflect the tenor of the law giving rise to his conviction,” they told the judge. “Accordingly, Dr. Navarro respectfully requests the Court sentence him to not more than six months of probation for each count, to run concurrently, and to pay a fine of $100 for each count.”

His attorneys also asked the judge to pause the sentence he eventually imposes so that they can appeal Navarro’s conviction to the DC-based federal appellate court.

Earlier this week, Mehta denied Navarro’s bid to redo his trial based on his claim that the jurors may have been influenced by political protesters when they took a break outside the courthouse during deliberations.

Navarro is the second ex-aide to the former president to be prosecuted for his lack of cooperation with the committee. Steve Bannon was convicted in 2022 on two contempt counts and later sentenced to four months in prison. Bannon’s case is currently on appeal.

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