Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence former Trump adviser Peter Navarro to 6 months in prison for convictions on two counts of contempt of Congress.
Jurors convicted Navarro in September for not complying with a subpoena for documents and testimony from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.
In a court filing late Thursday ahead of a sentencing set for Jan. 25, prosecutors argued Navarro “chose allegiance to former President Donald Trump over the rule of law,” and made bad faith arguments that Trump invoked executive privilege to keep him from testifying.
Prosecutors in the memorandum argued the six-month sentence, along with a $200,000 fine, would deter others from defying congressional subpoenas.
Navarro asserted executive privilege in response to the subpoena, but he did not comply when the Biden administration waived that privilege and he did not present any evidence Trump had invoked executive privilege, the memorandum said.
Navarro “cloaked his bad-faith strategy of defiance and contempt behind baseless, unfounded invocations of executive privilege and immunity that could not and would never apply to his situation,” the memorandum said.
In a separate memorandum filed Thursday, Navarro’s attorneys argued the legal issues surrounding executive privilege were complex and should not be held against their client. They recommended six months of probation and a $100 fine on each count.
“Dr. Navarro’s actions do not stem from a disrespect for the law, nor do they stem from any belief that he is above the law,” the memorandum said.
The legal issues surrounding the assertion of executive privilege took months to iron out and resulted in a delay in last year’s trial. Judge Amit P. Mehta for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ultimately ruled that Navarro could not assert executive privilege in his defense.
Navarro was convicted on both counts following a jury trial last September. During the trial Navarro told reporters he may appeal the case over executive privilege issues.
Prosecutions for contempt of Congress are rare, and the only other one in the past decade also came from the Jan. 6 select panel. Former Trump aide Stephen Bannon was convicted and sentenced to four months in prison on similar charges following a 2022 trial.
Bannon has remained free while he appeals his case, making similar arguments that executive privilege should have prevented the prosecution. That effort got a frosty reception last year at oral arguments before a three-judge panel the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, but the judges have not yet issued a decision in the case.