Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council, speaks to members of the media following a television interview outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 2020. Navarro rejected a plea deal offered by the Justice Department on Friday. File Photo by Stefani Reynolds/UPI | License Photo
Peter Navarro, a former White House trade adviser for former President Donald Trump, rejected a plea offer by the Justice Department in his contempt of Congress case, prosecutors said Friday.
Federal prosecutors said under the deal, Navarro would have pleaded guilty to one of the two contempt of Congress charges he faces for refusing to appear after receiving a congressional subpoena. He would also be required to comply with the subpoena from the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol. The panel has sought testimony and documents related to the riots.
In exchange for pleading guilty, the Justice Department offered to limit its sentencing request to 30 days in prison. Without a deal, he faces up to one year in prison for each of the two counts.
John Rowley, Navarro’s lawyer, said his client had a “presidential directive” to refuse the subpoena.
“In essence, this is a dispute between the office of the president and Congress, and Mr. Navarro was placed on the horn of the dilemma,” Rowley told reporters outside the courthouse, according to CNN.
During Friday’s hearing, the defense team took issue with law enforcement’s treatment of Navarro, saying officers arrested him at the airport even though his residence was a short walk from FBI headquarters. Navarro also said officers put him leg irons at the courthouse.
“It seems curious to me … why the government treated Mr. Navarro’s arrest in the way that it did,” U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said, according to CBS News.
Navarro pleaded not guilty to the charges in June.
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