When Peter Navarro goes to prison, he hears the roar of lions

Elisabeth Franz/Reuters

Peter Navarro addresses the annual meeting of the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland on February 24.


Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro hopes to spend the next few months working on air conditioning and sleeping in a dormitory for “older” male inmates at the prison next to the zoo.

Navarro, 74, is scheduled to report to jail on Tuesday after the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon rejected his request for a last-minute reprieve.

While reporting at a minimum-security Federal Bureau of Prisons satellite camp in Miami, he became the first former White House official to be jailed for contempt of Congress.

“You can't just hear the lions … you can hear the lions roaring every morning,” said Sam Mangel, Navarro's prison counselor.

“He's nervous,” Mangal told CNN of Navarro. “Anyone, regardless of the length of their sentence, goes into the unknown.”

Mangel is part of a cottage industry in the legal world that helps prepare well-heeled criminals and their families behind bars. He said he spoke with Navarro on Monday.

Navarro was sentenced to four months in prison after a House investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol found him guilty of failing to respond to congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony.

01:18 – Source: CNN

'You're not a victim': Judge scolds Navarro during sentencing

Another Trump adviser, Steve Bannon, has been sentenced to four months in prison for contempt of Congress in connection with the same investigation, but his prison report date has been put on hold as he also pursues appeals.

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“It's historic, and it will be for future White House aides subpoenaed by Congress,” Stanley Brand, a former House general counsel who now represents Navarro as one of his defense attorneys, said Monday.

Unless the Supreme Court intervenes and decides to postpone his prison reporting date, Navarro is unlikely to serve his full four months because of laws that allow federal inmates to be released early. Mangal said he expects to be given about 90 days.

Navarro will have to take classes and get a job inside the prison, Mangal said. A prison counselor has urged him to try out as a law library clerk or an organizer so he can spend the next few months in air conditioning as Miami's weather warms.

Given his age, Navarro will request an 80-man bed in a nursing home.

“There is no privacy in the hotel,” Mangel said. “It might be scary and intimidating. But he'll be completely safe.

Mangal said the prison camp already has two additional clients — a doctor and a politician he declined to name — who plan to help Navarro “get used to it.”

Navarro, a federal correctional facility in Miami, is one of the nation's oldest prisons, with fewer than 200 inmates in its aging infrastructure. There is a large group of prison inmates from Puerto Rico because it is the closest Bureau of Prisons to the territory.

Inside, Navarro can make more than eight hours a month of phone calls and access email. Mangal said he can follow the news on a few dozen televisions inside the jail — half broadcast in Spanish and half in English.

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In an order Monday afternoon, Chief Justice John Roberts Rejected Navarro tried to stay out of prison while challenging the conviction before a federal appeals court in Washington, DC.

Roberts noted that a federal appeals court had lost any challenge to the idea that Navarro could have avoided appearing before Congress, even if he qualified for executive privilege. “I strongly disagree that Navarro lost those arguments,” Roberts said.

US Federal Bureau of Prisons

U.S. This photo from the Federal Bureau of Prisons shows FCI Miami, a minimum-security federal correctional facility with a nearby minimum-security satellite camp.

Navarro's attorneys argued that a stay was warranted when the person making the request was not a flight risk, raised substantial legal questions, and did not seek to delay.

Instead, they argued, Navarro has appealed and “will raise many of the issues on appeal that he argues could lead to a reversal of his conviction or a new trial.”

Solicitor General Elizabeth Preloger called Navarro's arguments “without merit” and urged the court to reject his urgent appeal.

Navarro's “numerous arguments fall into two main categories, neither of which result in reversal or a new trial,” Preloger told the court. Navarro's primary claim — that a federal judge's decision not to allow him to raise an executive privilege argument at trial was improper — ultimately won't change the outcome of his criminal case, he said.

“Even a successful claim of privilege does not excuse an applicant's failure to comply with a subpoena,” Preloger wrote. “(Navarro) has lost the conflicting arguments with respect to all of those points, each of which is an independent reason to reject his claims here.”

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This story and headline have been updated with additional details.

CNN's Devan Cole and John Fritz contributed to this report.

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