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Judge Rejects Peter Navarro’s Bid to Remain Out of Jail

A federal judge rejected former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro’s bid to remain out of prison while he appeals his conviction for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee, Politico reports. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said Navarro’s claim that he might succeed on appeal was not enough of a basis to postpone a four-month prison term. The judge rejected a series of arguments that Navarro offered: that he had “testimonial immunity” from the subpoena because of his position in the White House during the events that preceded the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol; that he believed Trump had asserted executive privilege to block his testimony to Congress; and that the prosecution smacked of political bias. “If anything, the record demonstrates just the opposite,” Mehta wrote, sharply rejecting claims of bias. He noted that prosecutors opted not to charge Trump aides Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, who similarly refused to testify to Congress, and played much larger roles in Trump’s inner circle at the time.

If the ruling holds, Navarro may be the first member of Trump’s inner circle to go to prison for crimes stemming from the effort to subvert the 2020 election. The opinion concludes a two-year odyssey through t court for Navarro, who was held in contempt of Congress in 2022 after he refused to testify about his role in helping Trump attempt to overturn the 2020 election results. The Justice Department charged Navarro with two counts of contempt, one for refusing to testify and another for refusing to turn over documents. Navarro sought to sideline the case by contending Trump had effectively blessed his recalcitrance by invoking executive privilege. Navarro was unable to convince Mehta that such an invocation occurred, and even if he had, the judge noted, longstanding precedent barred it as a defense. Navarro cited Nixon-era court rulings to argue that his reliance on executive privilege was a thorny enough issue that his sentence should be postponed while he appeals, an argument rejected by Mehta.


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