The congressional committee's chair said the guilty verdict and sentence "are the consequence of Mr. Navarro's stubborn insistence that his short stint in the executive branch somehow put him above the law."
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced Peter Navarro, an ex-adviser to former U.S. President Donald Trump, to four months in prison for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the congressional panel that investigated the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
The prison sentence and $9,500 fine come after a jury in September convicted Navarro for refusing to show up for a deposition or turn over documents to the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol.
"In all of this, even today, there is little acknowledgment of what your obligation is as an American to cooperate with Congress, to provide them with information they are seeking," U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta told Navarro on Thursday, according toPolitico. "They had a job to do. And you made it harder. It's really that simple."
The judge, who was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by former President Barack Obama, also pushed back against claims from Navarro that his prosecution was politically motivated—a tactic Trump has also employed regarding his various civil and criminal cases while campaigning for the GOP's 2024 nomination.
"You are not a victim. You are not the object of a political prosecution," Mehta told Navarro. "These are circumstances of your own making."
"Nancy Pelosi's not responsible for your prosecution. Joe Biden's not responsible for your prosecution," he said, referring to the Democratic former House speaker and president. "It's those kinds of statements from somebody who knows better... that contributes to why our politics are so corrosive."
Speaking to reporters outside the D.C. courthouse on Thursday, Navarro made clear that he is appealing and expects his case to end up before the U.S. Supreme Court—which has a right-wing supermajority that includes three Trump appointees. Mehta put off a decision on whether he will remain free during the appeals process.
Navarro is the second Trump ally to be convicted for defying a subpoena from the panel, joining Steve Bannon, Trump's former chief strategist, who was convicted in July 2022 and also sentenced to four months behind bars. Bannon hasn't yet served any time. A three-judge panel heard his appeal in November but has not issued a decision.
While other Trump allies—including Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—blasted Navarro's sentence on Thursday, it was welcomed by Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chaired the bipartisan House select committee.
"Peter Navarro abandoned his oath to the Constitution and abused the public trust while he worked as a trade adviser to former President Trump when, in the days leading up to January 6th, he worked to keep a defeated incumbent in the White House," said Thompson. "He abused it again when he willfully defied a lawful subpoena from the January 6th select committee to answer questions about the leadup to that deadly day."
"Last summer's guilty verdict and today's sentence," he added, "are the consequence of Mr. Navarro's stubborn insistence that his short stint in the executive branch somehow put him above the law."