Federal Criminal Cases

Navarro Contempt of Congress Indictment

Major Issue: Whether an individual who once worked for former President Trump can be convicted on criminal contempt of Congress charges for failing to produce documents or appear for a deposition before the January 6th committee examining the 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Case Status: Awaiting appeals court ruling.

Case Description: On Feb. 9, 2022, the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol issued a subpoena to Peter Navarro requesting documents and deposition testimony related to the 2020 presidential election and January 6th attack. Mr. Navarro had been a trade adviser to former President Trump from 2017 to 2021. He declined to produce any documents by the Feb. 23rd due date or appear for a deposition on March 2nd as required by the subpoena. On April 6, 2022, the House voted to hold him in contempt of Congress. On June 2, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted Mr. Navarro on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress for failing to produce documents and for failing to appear at a deposition required by the committee subpoena.

Procedural Posture: The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. After extensive pre-trial litigation, the court set a trial date of Sept. 5, 2023.  On Sept. 7, 2023, the jury convicted Mr. Navarro of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. On Jan. 25, 2024, the District Court sentenced Mr. Navarro to four months in prison and a $9,500 fine. On Feb. 8, 2024, the District Court denied a Navarro motion to remain outside of prison pending appeal and later ordered him to report to prison on March 19, 2024. On Jan. 16, 2024, Mr. Navarro filed an appeal of his conviction with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Feb. 23, 2024, he also filed an emergency motion with the appeals court seeking release from prison pending his appeal, but on March 14, 2024, the appeals court denied his emergency motion.  On March 15, 2024, Mr. Navarro filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court to stay the order requiring him to report to prison, but on March 18, 2024, the Supreme Court denied his emergency application.  The end result was that Mr. Navarro was required to report to prison on March 19th, while pursuing his appeal.

 

On June 2, 2022, DOJ filed the Navarro indictment with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Amit P. Mehta was assigned to Case No. 22-cr-200 (APM). After extensive pre-trial litigation, the court set a trial date of Sept. 5, 2023.  On Sept. 7, 2023, the jury convicted Mr. Navarro of two counts of criminal contempt of Congress. On Jan. 16, 2024, the District Court denied a Navarro motion for a new trial. On Jan. 25, 2024, the District Court sentenced Mr. Navarro to four months in prison and a $9,500 fine.  Mr. Navarro immediately filed an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court. On Feb. 8, 2024, the District Court denied a Navarro motion to remain outside of prison pending appeal, finding that his appeal does not raise a substantial question.

On Jan. 31, 2024, Peter Navarro appealed his conviction for contempt of Congress. A three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, with Judges Henderson, Millett, and Walker, was assigned to Case No. 24-3006. On Feb. 23, 2024, Mr. Navarro filed an emergency motion for his release from prison pending the appeal. On March 4, 2024, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an opposition to the Navarro motion, and on March 10, Mr. Navarro filed a reply.  On March 14, 2024, the appeals court denied the emergency motion, requiring Mr. Navarro comply with the District Court order to report to prison on March 19th, while pursuing his appeal. 

On March 15, 2024, Peter Navarro filed an emergency application with the Supreme Court asking it to stay the District Court order to report to prison on March 19th.  On March 18, 2024, the Department of Justice filed an opposition to the emergency application.  Later that same day, the Supreme Court denied the application, thereby requiring Mr. Navarro to report to prison while pursuing his appeal. On April 29, 2024, the Supreme Court denied a Navarro petition renewing his request for release from prison.