A federal choose declined Thursday to dismiss the legal contempt of Congress costs introduced towards former Trump White Home adviser Peter Navarro for his failure to adjust to a subpoena from the Home choose committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, assault on the US Capitol.
In his opinion, US District Decide Amit Mehta dismantled all kinds of arguments that Navarro had introduced making an attempt to get the case thrown out. Mehta’s determination clears the best way for the contempt of Congress case – the second such prosecution that the Division of Justice has introduced stemming from the now-defunct Home January 6 probe – to go to trial on the finish of the month.
Mehta wrote that Navarro had failed to offer ample proof to help his declare that former President Donald Trump had asserted privilege over the paperwork and testimony the Home January 6 committee was searching for.
“[Navarro] has provided neither a sworn affidavit nor testimony from him or the previous President. His competition rests solely on his counsel’s representations, which aren’t proof,” Mehta wrote. “With out precise proof, the courtroom can’t discover that there was a proper invocation of privilege by the previous President.”
The choose was additionally not persuaded by Navarro’s arguments that the January 6 committee ought to have reached out to Trump to settle privilege considerations.
“The courtroom can’t dismiss an indictment for contempt of Congress on the mere presumption that President Trump would have asserted government privilege if solely he had been requested,” he wrote.
Mehta rejected Navarro’s assertions that the committee was procedurally flawed in a method that ought to enable him to keep away from prosecution. Mehta was additionally unconvinced by Navarro’s claims that he was the goal of selective prosecution. The opposite ex-Trump aides Navarro pointed to – former White Home officers Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, whom the DOJ declined to cost – engaged at size with the committee earlier than not complying with its subpoenas within the investigation, Mehta famous, they usually additionally obtained written directions from Trump’s legal professionals elevating privilege considerations.
“These interactions with the Choose Committee stand in distinction to these of Defendant, who communicated with the Choose Committee over a three-week interval largely by terse emails and public statements,” the choose wrote.
The committee was disbanded with the GOP takeover of the Home, and it wrapped up its work with a report launched on the finish of final yr. Nevertheless, the dissolution of the committee doesn’t have an effect on the DOJ’s legal prosecution of Navarro, and his trial is scheduled to start January 30.
Mehta’s opinion additionally resolved some disputes over what defenses Navarro can current at trial, with the choose – an Obama appointee – accepting a number of of the Justice Division’s arguments that can constrain what proof Navarro can be allowed to supply to the jury.
The Justice Division was equally profitable in limiting the defenses that Steve Bannon – a Trump ally who was additionally prosecuted for not complying with a Home January 6 committee subpoena – was allowed to placed on at his trial final yr. A jury convicted Bannon, and he’s now interesting the case.