Panel Decides Peter Navarro Must Serve Sentence During Appeal

Former Trump aide faces legal setback in court ruling.

by Nouman Rasool
Panel Decides Peter Navarro Must Serve Sentence During Appeal
© Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In a notable development this Thursday, Peter Navarro, once a key adviser to former President Donald Trump, saw his urgent plea to delay incarceration decisively turned down by a federal appeals court. This decision effectively nudges Navarro closer to commencing his sentence for his refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by the committee investigating the events of January 6.

The ruling, delivered by a unanimous vote from a panel of three judges, underscored that Navarro's arguments failed to raise any significant legal questions that could potentially overturn his conviction for contempt of Congress.

This setback dashes Navarro's hopes of avoiding a prison sentence while his appeal is considered. As a consequence of this judgment, Navarro is mandated to report to a federal penitentiary in Miami by Tuesday, where he will serve a four-month term, unless the Supreme Court intervenes at the eleventh hour.

Executive Privilege Claim

Navarro has consistently maintained that he was shielded by executive privilege granted by Trump, which, according to him, exempted him from the obligation to comply with the congressional subpoena demanding his testimony and the submission of documents related to the Capitol riot.

However, this claim was firmly dismissed by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in January, who pointed out Navarro's inability to prove that Trump had indeed conferred such privilege upon him. Echoing Mehta's sentiment, the appeals court highlighted Navarro's lack of evidence to support his claim of presidential immunity, stating plainly, "That did not happen here." Moreover, the court elaborated that even if such immunity had been granted, it would not exempt Navarro from complying with the committee's request, given the critical need for evidence in the investigation.

Navarro, who faced vocal critics outside the courthouse during his trial in January, had previously expressed his anticipation of his case reaching the Supreme Court. Now, with his incarceration imminent, the Supreme Court represents his final recourse to evade serving time.

Navarro's case marks him as the second Trump adviser to face federal charges for defying the January 6 committee's subpoenas. Steve Bannon, another former adviser, encountered a similar fate in 2022 but was permitted to remain free while his appeal is underway—a leniency Navarro had sought but was denied.

This development underscores the ongoing legal repercussions for those involved in the Capitol riot and its aftermath, as the judiciary continues to assert its role in upholding congressional mandates.