Peter Navarro‘s bid for release pending appeal of his criminal contempt conviction has been rejected.
United States District Court Judge Amit Mehta ruled on Thursday that the former Trump White House aide must still report to prison.
“Defendant insists that his prosecution was ‘motivated by political bias',” Mehta wrote, “yet, he offers no actual proof to support that contention … If anything, the record demonstrates just the opposite.”
Mehta argued that Navarro's “cynical, self-serving claim of political bias poses no question at all, let alone a ‘substantial' one” needed to fulfill the requirements for release.
In January, Navarro was sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of Congress after not submitting to a subpoena from the January 6 Committee.
His team argued during the sentencing hearing on Thursday that he believed he could not comply with the committee’s subpoena due to executive privilege, however the judge rejected that claim.
In his ruling on Thursday, Mehta once again pointed out that Navarro's claim was unfounded, saying, “after over a year of litigation, Defendant still has not offered what he thinks is required for a proper invocation of executive privilege.” Mehta also took aim at Navarro's claim that he was protected by the decision in Licavoli v. the United States.
“It would mean that the government's burden to prove willfulness was heavier in this case than in others because Defendant is a former senior aide to a former President who had a good faith belief that executive privilege excused his noncompliance,” Mehta wrote. “The court is aware of no authority that increases or alters the government’s evidentiary burden as to the mens rea element of a crime based on a defendant’s official position and his professed state of mind.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.