(IntegrityPress.org) – A federal judge has rejected Peter Navarro’s plea for a new trial regarding his contempt of Congress conviction, in which he alleged that the jury was influenced by protesters outside the courthouse. US District Judge Amit Mehta ruled against Navarro, stating that there was insufficient evidence to prove the jury’s prejudice due to protesters connected to the events of January 6th, 2021.
Mehta emphasized that Navarro’s legal team was aware of the potential exposure of the jury to protesters before the verdict but chose to raise concerns only after an unfavorable ruling. This strategic decision was considered a waiver of grounds for a new trial. The judge argued that a defendant cannot stay silent about alleged external influences on the jury, speculate on a favorable outcome, and then say afterward that a new trial is necessary due to prejudice.
Navarro’s attorney, Stanley Woodward, contended that the jurors were people waving signs related to the January 6th incident, given Navarro’s association with it. Mehta discovered, however, that the jurors only spoke with one another and the court security officer during a brief break after watching footage from outside the courthouse.
The court security officer, Rosa Roldan Torres, supported this account, testifying that jurors removed their tags before the break and were not approached by anyone. Mehta highlighted the calm scene outside the courthouse, which included no aggressive shouting or protests.
Protests near the federal courthouse in Washington, where significant political cases are often heard, are not uncommon. The location has seen heightened attention during trials related to January 6th, including former President Trump’s arraignment and cases involving “extremist” groups.
Navarro was convicted in September on two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating January 6th. The charges pertained to his failure to produce documents and appear for a deposition.
Navarro is set to be sentenced next week. He is not the only former Trump ally to face contempt of Congress charges. Steve Bannon, who was convicted last year and sentenced to four months in prison also was charged. He has not served his sentence yet.
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