Hours before he will appear in Manhattan Superior Court to be arraigned in his hush money payoff case, a panel of Appeals Court judges rejected Donald Trump‘s “emergency” attempt to block some of his top aides from testifying before Special Counsel Jack Smith‘s grand jury.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney, breaking the news, adds the judges would not block Smith’s attempt to interview the aides in his investigation into Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
“Several close Trump advisers are the subject of this order, which was part of a rushed series of overnight filings,” Cheney notes, adding the names of the aides are not known as the order was sealed.
But he points to CNN reporting from late Tuesday morning that reveals “Trump’s team on Monday night asked for the appeals court to wipe away a lower court’s ruling that would force several of his top advisers to answer questions to a grand jury investigating Trump and his allies’ attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, despite his claims of legal protections around his presidency that would shield some of their testimony.”
CNN reports one of the aides is likely Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.
Others might include “Trump’s former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, former Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli and several Trump White House advisers such as Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino. CNN has confirmed some of the witnesses previously testified to the grand jury, but may have declined to answer some questions at Trump’s direction.”
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
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Peter Navarro, Former Top Trump White House Advisor, Guilty of Criminal Contempt
Peter Navarro, the controversial economist and former top Trump White House advisor, was found guilty by a jury on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress Thursday afternoon after a short trial that began on Tuesday.
Navarro refused to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Legal experts had predicted a “quick conviction” after Navarro, called a “conspiracy theorist” who promotes “fringe” economic theories, had called no witnesses. The jury deliberated for under five hours. He faces up to two years in prison.
“The defendant chose allegiance to former President Trump over compliance with a subpoena,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi told the jury Thursday, as Politico reported. “The defendant chose defiance.”
“Our government only works when people play by the rules and it only works when people are held accountable when they do not,” Aloi also said, during closing arguments. “When a person intentionally and deliberately chooses to defy a congressional subpoena, that is a crime.”
Politico reported earlier that “ Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation.”
“There’s no mistake, no accident,” prosecutor John Crabb told jurors, NBC News adds.
“That man thinks he’s above the law,” Crabb said. “In this country, nobody is above the law.”
‘Look for a Quick Conviction Here’: Navarro Jury Could Reach a Verdict ‘Early This Afternoon’
Peter Navarro‘s criminal contempt of Congress trial is moving quickly and the jury may come to a verdict as early as this afternoon, court watchers say.
Navarro, who has been called a “conspiracy theorist” who holds “fringe” and “oddball” economic views, is a former top Trump White House aide. He advanced “Big Lie” election fraud claims and refused to comply with a February, 2022 subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. He was criminally indicted in June of 2022 by a federal grand jury.
The trial began Tuesday in D.C. federal court.
Just before 11 AM Thursday the case was handed to the jury, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports.
“Given the brevity of the case, a verdict is highly likely in the next few hours,” Cheney adds, noting: “If convicted, he faces up to one year on each of two counts — one for refusing to testify, one for refusing to provide docs.”
“Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation,” Politico reports. “For months, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta wrestled with intricate questions about how executive privilege might apply to a former adviser to a former president, whether Navarro’s belief that Trump had invoked the privilege constituted a defense to the charges and how the Justice Department’s decision to charge him compares with its longstanding views of immunity for some senior executive branch officials from compelled congressional testimony.”
Wednesday evening, former top DOJ official Harry Litman noted, “Peter Navarro evidence already done, closing arguments tomorrow. Basically, it’s an incredibly simple case — he knew he had to comply with the subpoena, and he still thumbed his nose at it.”
Adding the the government called three witness but “Navarro called nobody,” Litman predicted: “Look for a quick conviction here.”
‘How Much the Former President Should Pay Her’: Judge Hands Trump Big Loss in E. Jean Carroll Case
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed journalist E. Jean Carroll a win on Wednesday in her remaining case against Donald Trump, after the journalist’s attorneys hit hard against the ex-president’s request for a stay of her original civil trial against him for defamation, which was slated for January.
Judge Kaplan on Wednesday ruled Trump is liable for defamation over remarks he made against Carroll in 2019, after she publicly accused him of rape years prior, CNBC reports. A jury in May award Carroll $5 million in a separate civil trial, finding the ex-president liable for sexual abuse and defamation.
Handing Carroll “partial summary judgment,” Judge Kaplan “said the upcoming trial for Carroll’s civil lawsuit against Trump will only deal with the question of how much the former president should pay her in monetary damages.”
That closely aligns with remarks last month made by Carroll’s attorney, Robbie Kaplan, who said, “the January 15th jury trial will be limited to a narrow set of issues and shouldn’t take very long to complete.”
“E. Jean Carroll looks forward to obtaining additional compensatory and punitive damages based on the original defamatory statements Donald Trump made in 2019,” Kaplan said, as NPR reported.
On Wednesday in a motion Carroll’s attorneys had warned the judge that Carroll “faces continuing defamatory attacks from Trump,” while requesting the judge not grant the ex-president’s motion for a stay of the upcoming January trial.
After her May win at trial, speaking to CNN about the verdict, Carroll said Trump indeed had raped her: “Oh, yes he did.”
Trump filed a counter defamation lawsuit, but the judge denied his claim, agreeing with Carroll, and saying, “Mr. Trump ‘raped her,’ albeit digitally rather than with his penis.”
“In fact, both acts constitute ‘rape’ in common parlance, its definition in some dictionaries, in some federal and state criminal statutes, and elsewhere.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a professor of law and MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst on Wednesday posted the motion from Carroll’s attorneys and wrote: “lawyers for @ejeancarroll have filed a motion opposing Trump’s efforts to stay his January defamation trial (only damages are left to be determined) pending appeal. Knives out, but Trump deserves it for trying to abuse the legal process to avoid accountability.”
Carroll’s attorneys wrote that Trump’s “motion for a stay ignores virtually the entire factual and procedural history of this four-year-old case and barely responds to Judge Kaplan’s decision denying such relief. That is no coincidence,” they said.
They accused Trump of “procedural gamesmanship,” called his points “meritless,” and said that when tested, “Trump’s position collapses.” They later called Trump’s position “frivolous.”
Trump would not “face substantial injury if he were denied a stay,” they said, and called the “harms that he describes … mainly self-inflicted.”
They also claimed “his objections to a short trial in January 2024 ring hollow based on his own litigation conduct. Indeed, Trump expressly requested an expedited trial in this case less than six months ago, and changed his mind only after an adverse verdict in a related matter.”
“In contrast, Plaintiff-Appellee E. Jean Carroll, who is 79 years old and faces continuing defamatory attacks from Trump, would suffer significant harm from a stay and such an order would also undermine core public interests,” they wrote. “This Court should therefore deny Trump’s motion for a stay.”
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