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Former Donald Trump adviser Peter Navarro holds a press conference before turning himself in to a federal prison on March 19, 2024, in Miami, FloridaPhoto by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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(LifeSiteNews) — Former Donald Trump aide Peter Navarro has commenced a four-month prison sentence for contempt of Congress – a rare criminal charge.

The 74-year-old economist denied a subpoena request to appear in front of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 committee. He entered federal prison in Miami, Florida, on Tuesday, becoming one of the few people to actually face jail time for defying Congress.

“Navarro was sentenced to four months in prison for defying a subpoena for documents and a deposition from the House committee that investigated the riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump,” the Associated Press reported.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Navarro decried the “partisan weaponization” of justice and the “lawfare” waged against conservatives.

His prosecution is an “unprecedented assault on the constitutional separation of powers,” Navarro said, adding that the prosecution is a “crippling blow” to the “separation of powers.”

Liberal-leaning news outlets like CNN noted the rarity, reporting “the number of times the [Department of Justice] agreed to prosecute a witness for contempt of Congress are extremely low. In 2010, a political appointee in the George W. Bus​h administration was charged with contempt of Congress, then made a plea deal to serve one day in jail.”

“For decades, the two branches of government have engaged in a game of chicken over the protections that surround the presidency and how Congress can enforce its subpoena,” CNN reported. The news outlet noted, “there have been incentives on both sides to negotiate towards a deal rather than test in court the monumental questions of executive privilege and immunity in court.”

CNN also called the prosecution “uncommon.”

Commentator Steve Bannon has also been convicted of contempt of Congress but remains free, pending appeal. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts denied Navarro’s request to halt his prison sentence while his appeal is pending.

Navarro’s attorneys noted in their Supreme Court filing that Anne Gorsuch, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s mother, also faced a contempt of Congress charge, but never faced prosecution. She formerly served under President Ronald Reagan as the Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

Navarro argued for executive privilege, though whether Trump invoked it remains in question. However, his attorneys argued the prosecution of an administration official raised separation of powers concerns.

“The prosecution of a senior presidential advisor asserting executive privilege conflicts with the constitutional independence required by the doctrine of separation of powers,” his attorneys argued in their Supreme Court filing. “Not once before Dr. Navarro’s prosecution has the Department of Justice concluded a senior presidential advisor may be prosecuted for contempt of congress following an assertion of executive privilege.”

Prosecution, jail sentence raises concerns of weaponized DOJ

The prosecution of Navarro only furthers concerns of a weaponized Department of Justice (DOJ).

Former Attorney General Eric Holder had been held in contempt of Congress during President Barack Obama’s time in office, but never faced criminal charges. The DOJ also declined to criminally prosecute former IRS official Lois Lerner, who oversaw the targeting of conservative groups. The U.S. House also found her in contempt of Congress.

Meanwhile, Biden’s DOJ has repeatedly targeted conservatives, Christians, and pro-lifers. For example, it conducted multiple armed raids on the homes of Catholic dads who faced minor charges related to their pro-life activism. In one example, which was later defeated in court, the Biden DOJ found an old misdemeanor charged against Mark Houck and brought it back as a federal crime. Yet a state court had already tossed the charge against Houck for pushing an erratic and aggressive pro-abortion escort who was screaming at Houck’s son.

In October 2021, Attorney General Merrick Garland ordered federal authorities to be ready to prosecute citizens, including concerned parents, who spoke out at school board meetings against COVID regulations and the framing of sex and race discussion in classrooms.

Multiple FBI offices also labeled traditional Latin Mass Catholics as potential extremists, citing an Atlantic article about the rosary being a weapon as well as the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion activists who harassed Supreme Court justices by regularly picketing outside of their houses faced no criminal charges. The activists were apparently attempting to get the conservative justices to reverse a leaked decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Instead of facing prosecution, Biden administration officials and Democrat leaders appeared at times to be endorsing the disruptions.

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