Ex-Trump Adviser Found Guilty, Vows To Fight Contempt Conviction

Serving as an adviser to former President Donald Trump is often a step toward facing criminal charges, as Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis demonstrated with her indictment of 18 Trump attorneys, aides, and allies last month.

More recently, former Trump adviser Peter Navarro was convicted of contempt of Congress based on his refusal to appear before the House of Representatives Jan. 6 subcommittee early last year.

The guilty verdict came more than a year after another former Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, was found guilty of a similar crime. He was later sentenced to four months behind bars but launched an appeal of his conviction.

Navarro similarly signaled his intention to fight the conviction, declaring: “That’s why this is going to the appeals court. This is going to the Supreme Court. I said from the beginning, I am willing to go to prison to settle this issue.”

The former director of Trump’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy rejected a subpoena to appear before lawmakers in February 2022, asserting at the time that his communications with the then-president in the aftermath of the 2020 election were protected by executive privilege.

“My position remains this is not my executive privilege to waive, and the committee should negotiate this matter with President Trump,” he explained. “If he waives the privilege, I will be happy to comply; but I see no effort by the committee to clarify this matter with President Trump, which is bad faith and bad law.”

Attorney John Irving reiterated that defense in a statement following his client’s conviction this week.

“We think that the evidence established that, in fact, President Trump instructed Dr. Navarro to invoke executive privilege,” he said. “This case is not over by a long shot.”

Potential grounds to overturn the conviction are not limited to the facts of the trial, as Navarro attorney Stanley Woodward argued in court. Citing the fact that members of the jury left the court building — where they could have encountered anti-Trump protesters — prior to handing in a verdict, he made a motion for a mistrial.

If the conviction is upheld, Navarro could be sentenced to as much as two years in prison and be ordered to pay fines of up to $200,000.