(Luis Cornelio, Headline USA) An Obama-appointed federal judge has directed Peter Navarro, the former director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy under the Trump administration, to begin his sentence for a two-count contempt of Congress conviction, despite his expressed intent to appeal.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta declared that Navarro must serve four months in jail after a jury found him guilty of two counts of defying a congressional subpoena. At the time, Navarro had invoked presidential privilege to resist a subpoena from the now-defunct House Jan. 6 Committee.
“Defendant’s request for release pending appeal is denied,” Mehta wrote on a 12-page order on Thursday. “Unless this Order is stayed or vacated by the D.C. Circuit, Defendant shall report to the designated Bureau of Prisons facility on the date ordered by the BOP.”
Navarro decried the order in several tweets: “Rick, I’m shocked…Judge in my case denied my request to remain free pending appeal of my conviction.”
This on the same day I am ordered to prison. “Biden could portray himself as an “elderly man with a poor memory” who would be sympathetic to a jury.” So no prosecution. Wow.
— Peter Navarro (@RealPNavarro) February 8, 2024
This new order effectively denies Navarro’s plea to remain free while a court of appeals hears his case. Navarro, 77, had previously characterized the imposed punishment as a “death sentence” given his age.
“Four months in prison at my age is effectively a death sentence if you look at the average lifespan in America,” he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in January. “This to me is why you’ve got to let Donald Trump in 2024 and get him into the oval. … Our economy is in shambles. The border is in shambles. Our enemies are upon us.”
In a separate case, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon received a similar two-count contempt of Congress sentence in July 2022 for defying subpoenas from the anti-Trump Jan. 6 committee. Unlike Navarro, Bannon was permitted to remain free during his appeal.
Navarro asserted that he was the first former White House official to be convicted of such an offense. While the Jan. 6 committee sought Bannon’s testimony during his post-White House period, Navarro, then a senior government official, argued that his conversations with former President Donald Trump during the 2020 election were protected by executive privilege.
“I am the first senior white house advisor ever to be charged in this alleged crime,” Navarro declared last month. “I want folks to know they can come after me and come after Trump and come after you.”
The specific date when Navarro is mandated to appear before a federal prison remains unknown.