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When Peter Navarro goes to prison, he’ll hear the lions roar

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

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

He is set to become the first former White House official ever jailed for contempt of Congress when he reports to a minimum-security federal Bureau of Prisons satellite camp in Miami.

“Not only can you hear the lions … you can hear the lions roar every morning,” said Sam Mangel, Navarro’s prison consultant.

“He’s nervous,” Mangel told CNN of Navarro. “Anybody, regardless of the length of their sentence, is going into an unknown world.”

Mangel is part of a cottage industry in the legal world meant to help prepare well-heeled convicts and their families for time behind bars. He said he spoke with Navarro on Monday.

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

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

“It’s historic, and will be to future White House aides who get subpoenaed by Congress,” Stanley Brand, a former House general counsel who now represents Navarro as one of his defense lawyers, said on Monday.

Navarro is unlikely to serve the four full months of his sentence because of laws that allow for early release for federal inmates. Mangel said he expects the time served to be about 90 days.

Mangel said Navarro will have to take classes and get a job inside the prison. The prison consultant has urged him to try for roles as a law library clerk or an orderly, so he can spend the next few months in the air conditioning as Miami’s weather warms.

Given his age, Navarro also will ask to be in a dormitory for elderly inmates that houses about 80 men in bunk beds.

“There’s no privacy in the dorm,” Mangel said. “It can be scary and intimidating. But he’s going to be perfectly safe.”

Mangel said there are two additional clients of his already doing time in that prison camp – a doctor and someone engaged in politics whom he declines to name - who are planning to help Navarro “acclimate.”

The federal correctional facility Navarro is headed to in Miami is one of the oldest prison camps in the country, housing fewer than 200 inmates in its aging infrastructure. The prison has a large group of inmates from Puerto Rico, because it is the closest Bureau of Prisons facility to the territory.

Inside, Navarro will be able to make more than eight hours of phone calls a month and will have access to email. He’ll also be able to follow news on a few dozen TVs inside the prison – half of which air in Spanish and half in English, Mangel said.

Supreme Court rejects last-minute plea

In an order Monday afternoon, Chief Justice John Roberts rejected Navarro’s attempt to stay out of prison while he challenges the conviction before the federal appeals court in Washington, DC.

Roberts noted that a federal court of appeals concluded that Navarro had forfeited any challenge to the idea that, even if he was entitled to executive privilege, he could avoid appearing before Congress. Roberts said that he saw “no basis to disagree with the determination that Navarro forfeited those arguments.”

This photo from the US Federal Bureau of Prisons shows FCI Miami, a low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. - US Federal Bureau of Prisons
This photo from the US Federal Bureau of Prisons shows FCI Miami, a low security federal correctional institution with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp. - US Federal Bureau of Prisons

Navarro’s attorneys argued that pausing a lower court’s ruling rejecting his bid to stay free is warranted when the person making the request is not a flight risk and is raising substantial legal questions, not simply seeking to delay.

Instead, they argued, Navarro has appealed and “will raise a number of issues on appeal that he contends are likely to result in the reversal of his conviction, or a new trial.”

Navarro said in a statement later Monday, “The partisan nature of the imprisoning of a top senior White House aide should chill the bones of every American. … If anybody thinks these partisans and politicians in robes aren’t coming for Donald Trump, they must think twice now.”

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar called Navarro’s arguments “meritless” and urged the court to deny his emergency appeal, arguing that his challenge is not likely to result in a reversal of his conviction.

Navarro’s “numerous arguments fall into two main categories, neither of which is likely to result in reversal or a new trial,” Prelogar told the court. She said that Navarro’s primary claim – that a federal judge’s decision to not allow him to raise an executive privilege argument at trial was wrong – will not ultimately change the outcome of his criminal case.

“Even a successful claim of privilege would not excuse applicant’s total failure to comply with the subpoena,” Prelogar wrote. “(Navarro) has forfeited contrary arguments with respect to all of those points, each of which is an independent reason to reject his claims here.”

This story and headline have been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Devan Cole and John Fritze contributed to this report.

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