WASHINGTON — In a rare post-trial hearing, a court security officer testified before the judge overseeing former Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s contempt of Congress case, after Navarro’s attorneys moved for a mistrial.
Navarro, who under Donald Trump was director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, was found guilty last week of two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued in February 2022 by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
After the verdict, Navarro’s attorneys moved for a mistrial on the grounds that the jury exited the building before returning a verdict, and that they may have seen protesters while outside.
Rosa Torres, the court security officer who escorted the jurors outside the courtroom, testified Wednesday that when the jurors were escorted outside they remained at a distance from the media, and said that there was at least one protester who was carrying a flag and a poster.
Torres said that the jurors were not wearing their juror badges while they were outside and that they were not approached by the protester.
During the hearing, Navarro’s attorney, John Rowley, presented several photos of the jurors on their break and pressed Torres about “the scene outside.”
When asked by Rowley about the timing of the jurors’ break, Torres said the jury returned a verdict “20 to 45 minutes” after returning to the courthouse.
Judge Amit Mehta told attorneys the court has security footage and “public source video” of when the jurors stepped outside.
A hearing on a mistrial motion will be scheduled in 14 days.
Navarro’s attorneys had argued at trial that Trump had asserted executive privilege over Navarro’s Jan. 6 testimony, but prosecutors said that even if that was the case, Navarro was still required to appear before the committee and cite privilege on a question-by-question basis.
The Jan. 6 committee had been seeking to question Navarro about efforts to delay Congress’ certification of the 2020 election, a plan Navarro dubbed the “Green Bay Sweep” in his book, “In Trump Time,” a former committee staffer testified.
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