Feb. 8 (UPI) — A federal judge rejected former Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro’s bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his contempt of Congress conviction for defying a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ruled Thursday Navarro’s claim that he might succeed on the appeal was not enough of a basis to postpone the four-month prison sentence.
The judge sentenced Navarro to four months in prison last month after the former aide was convicted in September on two counts of contempt of Congress, one for refusing to testify and one for refusing to turn over documents.
Mehta said Navarro must report to his designated Bureau of Prisons facility at a date to be specified by the bureau. If the ruling holds, he would be the first Trump aide to serve prison time for crimes stemming from the effort to overturn the 2020 election.
Mehta rejected a host of claims from Navarro, who argued he had “testimonial immunity” because of his position in the White House during the events leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and that the prosecution was politically biased because of his loyalty to Trump.
“If anything, the record demonstrates just the opposite,” Mehta wrote, noting the absence of political bias in the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Trump aides Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino, both of whom were subpoenaed but did not testify before Congress.
Navarro also was unable to convince Mehta that Trump had invoked executive privilege to bar any testimony to Congress.
“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.
Navarro is the second Trump adviser to be convicted for evading a Jan. 6 committee subpoena. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon also was convicted on two counts of contempt of Congress last year and sentenced to four months in prison, although a different judge ruled he could remain free while he appeals the ruling.