Trump ex-aide Navarro asks US Supreme Court to keep him out of prison during appeal

By Thomson Reuters Mar 15, 2024 | 4:29 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Peter Navarro, who served as trade adviser under former President Donald Trump, asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to let him remain free while he appeals his conviction for defying a subpoena in a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Navarro is scheduled next Tuesday to begin serving a four-month prison sentence, according to his lawyers.

Navarro was found guilty by a jury in September of two misdemeanor counts of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee. The panel investigated the Jan. 6 attack by Trump supporters and broader attempts by the former president to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

His lawyers had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to pause the sentence while Navarro appeals, but that request was denied.

Navarro has argued that he believed that he did not have to cooperate with Congress because he thought Trump had invoked the legal doctrine of executive privilege, which shields some presidential records and communications from disclosure.

Navarro advised Trump on trade issues during his presidency and served on a COVID-19 task force. He became a vocal supporter of Trump’s false claims of widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election. Trump supporters sought to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s victory, clashing with police and rampaging through the Capitol.

Navarro was the second prominent Trump adviser to be convicted of contempt of Congress for spurning the House panel. Former Trump adviser and right-wing firebrand Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison in 2022. He has avoided serving the sentence while he appeals his conviction.

Trump, seeking to regain the presidency this year, is the Republican candidate challenging Biden in the Nov. 5 U.S. election.

(Reporting by John Kruzel; Additional reporting by Andrew Goudsward; Editing by Will Dunham)