Judge denies Navarro’s bid to avoid prison while appealing contempt of Congress conviction

A federal D.C. judge on Thursday denied ex-Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his recent contempt of Congress conviction for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack.

Navarro was sentenced to four months in prison last month after being convicted in September on two counts of contempt of Congress — one for failing to produce documents related to the probe and another for skipping his deposition.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled Thursday that Navarro’s forthcoming appeal does not raise a “substantial question of law,” giving him no reason to allow the Trump ally to remain free while the appellate process plays out.

Navarro’s counsel had argued that the question regarding executive privilege, which Navarro claimed former President Trump invoked over any testimony to the Jan. 6 panel, rises to that threshold. Mehta disagreed.

“After over a year of litigation, Defendant still has not offered what he thinks is required for a proper invocation of executive privilege,” Mehta wrote.

Both parties tiptoed around the issue of executive privilege throughout the trial after Mehta barred defense attorneys from using it to prove Navarro’s innocence.

Mehta also rejected Navarro’s argument that he’s being politically prosecuted for his alignment with Trump.

“Defendant’s cynical, self-serving claim of political bias poses no question at all, let alone a ‘substantial’ one,” Mehta wrote.

While Navarro was the second Trump adviser convicted for evading a Jan. 6 committee subpoena, he could be the first to serve prison time.

Ex-White House adviser Steve Bannon was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress last year and also sentenced to four months in prison, but a different judge ruled he could remain free pending appeal. Bannon argued his case before a federal appeals court in November and still has not served that time.

Mehta said Navarro must report to his designated Bureau of Prisons facility at a date to be specified by the bureau.

Navarro lawyer Stanley Woodward declined to comment on Mehta’s order.

This story was updated at 1:43 p.m.

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