Federal Judge Reprimands Peter Navarro After Contempt Charges


Peter Navarro — the Trump goon recently charged for contempt of Congress over his refusal to cooperate with the House committee investigating the Capitol riot — received a rebuke this week from federal Judge Amit Mehta for emailing the courtroom deputy, which is prohibited. Navarro “is not permitted to have ex parte communications with the court — that is, communications outside the presence of government counsel — absent the court’s consent,” as Mehta put it.

“In the last two days, [Navarro] has twice communicated with the court by emailing the courtroom deputy, without copying government counsel. This is not proper,” Mehta said in an order from Thursday, later adding: “If Defendant wishes to communicate with the court, he shall do so through a written filing submitted through the clerk’s office. Alternatively, he can seek permission to obtain filing privileges for the court’s online filing system. Securing such privileges will require Defendant to follow Local Criminal Rule 49(b)(2). The District Court’s Local Rules are available on its website. The court assumes that Defendant was unaware of the prohibition on ex parte communications and trusts that they will cease going forward.”

“Each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000,” the Justice Department noted in a press release about the new contempt case against Navarro. Navarro is facing two counts. He’s the second Trump ally to be actually indicted after getting recommended to the Justice Department for potential prosecution over contempt of Congress by members of the House. There’s been disappointment that the Justice Department has declined to move forward with contempt cases against other Trump allies who were also implicated in contempt findings by the House, including ex-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Referring to Meadows and ex-Trump aide Dan Scavino, who the Justice Department also declined to prosecute for contempt tied to the House riot investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said as follows on CBS: “It is very puzzling why these two witnesses would be treated differently than the two that the Justice Department is prosecuting. There is no absolute immunity. These witnesses have very relevant testimony to offer in terms of what went into the violence of January 6th, the propagation of the big lie. And the idea that witnesses could simply fail to show up — and when the statute requires the Justice Department to present those cases to the grand jury, and they don’t — is deeply troubling. We hope to get more insight from the Justice Department, but it’s a, I think, a grave disappointment and could impede our work if other witnesses think they can likewise refuse to show up with impunity.”

Steve Bannon, the other Trump ally to get indicted for contempt over his non-compliance with the riot panel, stands trial in July. Meanwhile, the Justice Department is continuing to actually ramp up its criminal cases against individuals involved in or directly connected to the Capitol riot. Recently, seditious conspiracy charges against people tied to the far-right group known as the Proud Boys were revealed. Those charged with the offense include former national leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who — along with the others from his group charged with seditious conspiracy — is in pretrial detention. Previously, members of the Oath Keepers — a similarly styled far-right group — were also charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol riot.