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Peter Navarro, ex-Trump aide, begins prison term for contempt

Peter Navarro, who served as a trade adviser to former President Donald Trump, surrendered to authorities at a federal prison in Miami on Tuesday to begin his four-month prison sentence for two counts of contempt of Congress.

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In January, a judge sentenced Navarro to four months in prison after a jury convicted him of two counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2020, violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Navarro surrenders at federal prison

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT March 19: Navarro surrendered to authorities at FCI Miami on Tuesday to begin his prison sentence.

Speaking with reporters before his surrender, he decried “the partisan weaponization of our justice system.”

“I am the first senior White House adviser in the history of our republic that has ever been charged with this alleged crime,” he said. “And I say alleged because for hundreds of years, this has not been a crime, and for 50 years the Department of Justice has maintained the principal of absolute testimony immunity.”

Navarro was convicted of contempt of Congress for failing to respond to a subpoena from the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2020, violence at the U.S. Capitol. At the time, he claimed executive privilege, but a court found that there was no evidence to show that privilege was ever invoked. Further, prosecutors said that some of the documents requested in the committee’s subpoena would not have fallen under executive privilege.

Original report: His lawyers said he will arrive at the prison around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to begin serving his sentence, Reuters reported.

With his surrender, the 74-year-old will become the first former White House official to be imprisoned for contempt of Congress and the first senior member of Trump’s administration to serve time related to the attempt to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss, according to Reuters and CNN.

His jail sentence is set to start one day after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency requests from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, declined to allow Navarro to remain free as he appeals his conviction.

“It’s historic, and will be to future White House aides who get subpoenaed by Congress,” Stanley Brand, a former House general counsel who represents Navarro, told CNN on Monday.

Attorneys argued in a petition to the Supreme Court that Navarro believed he was protected by executive privilege when he declined to comply with subpoenas from the House select committee. In the government’s response, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote that “even a successful invocation of executive privilege would not excuse applicant’s total noncompliance with the subpoena.”

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that Navarro failed to show that his appeal “presents substantial questions of law or fact likely” to undo his conviction or sentence, The Washington Post reported. Roberts said in a brief order Monday that he had no reason to disagree with that ruling, according to the newspaper.

Navarro was the second top Trump adviser to be convicted of contempt charges.

In 2022, a jury found Steve Bannon guilty of failing to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee. He was sentenced to four months in prison, however, a judge ordered that his sentence be delayed as he appeals his conviction.


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