Trump aide Peter Navarro asks Supreme Court to keep him out of prison

A senior aide to former president Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Friday to keep him out of prison while he appeals his conviction for refusing to testify before Congress about his involvement in efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Peter Navarro, a 74-year-old economist, is required to report to a prison in Miami by Tuesday, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said this week that he “has not shown that his appeal presents substantial questions of law or fact likely” to undo his conviction or four-month sentence.

Navarro’s attorneys told the Supreme Court on Friday that Navarro is “indisputably neither a flight risk nor a danger to public safety should he be released pending appeal.”

“For the first time in our nation’s history, a senior presidential advisor has been convicted of contempt of congress after asserting executive privilege over a congressional subpoena,” his attorneys, Stan M. Brand and Stanley Woodward, said in court filings Friday, adding that Navarro will raise several issues on appeal “that he contends are likely to result in the reversal of his conviction, or a new trial.”

The Supreme Court gave the Justice Department until 2 p.m. on Monday to respond to Navarro’s request to remain out of prison while his appeal is underway.

Following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, Navarro published a book in which he described a plot to throw the election to Trump during the vote certification that day. He credited the idea to right-wing podcast host and former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

But when the House committee investigating Jan. 6 issued subpoenas for the two men to elaborate on those plans, they ignored them. Now both are fighting four-month prison sentences for contempt of Congress.

Navarro’s attorneys said in their filing Friday that the law is not clear that Congress intended to punish senior presidential advisers like Navarro, who they said refused to comply with a congressional subpoena based on a belief they were required to assert executive privilege.

But Navarro had no documentation to show that Trump ever planned to assert that privilege to keep him from testifying, and Trump has never publicly corroborated his account.

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta called Navarro’s immunity claim “weak sauce” and did not allow him to make it at trial.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit agreed this week that most of Navarro’s arguments would be viable only if “privilege has actually been invoked in this case in some manner by the President.”

“That did not happen here,” the appeals court said.

Rachel Weiner contributed to this report.

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