Asked if he believed he had any chance of winning the case he replied: "Of course not. They didn't fabricate this case to allow that and it's obvious for me it's going to be a guilty verdict."
Why would he be jailed unless he was guilty?
The court found Navalny guilty but his lawyers are appealing the verdict. Russian law forbids convicted criminals running for political office.
Talking to Phil Black before the trial began, Navalny said: "It's true one of Putin's goals in this trial is to stop me from being involved in politics but this law only exists in Putin's system and our goal is to destroy Putin's system."
Lipman said she also believed the verdict was politically motivated. "The government is using law enforcement and judiciary machines to lock up a man who is a political challenge. There is hardly any doubt that the verdict in the courtroom was not made by the judge himself," she said.
"There is every reason to suggest that the verdict announced on July 18 in Kirov was a decision made somewhere very high in the Kremlin executive."
Russian authorities have always insisted Navalny's prosecution is not political.
But a senior investigator recently admitted his colleagues had fast tracked their work in Navalny's case because of his criticism of Russia's political system.
"The suspect is doing his best to draw attention to himself; one could even say he is teasing the authorities," said Vladimir Markin, the spokesman of Russia's Investigative Committee, in April, according to the Washington Post. "So interest in his past grew and the process of bringing him out in the open naturally sped up."
President Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told CNN that Putin had not followed Navalny's trial.
So then why has he been released?
When Navalny arrived in court the day after his conviction, he found the prosecutor who had argued he should be sent to prison arguing instead for his release pending appeal, so that he could continue campaigning for the Moscow mayoralty.
Navalny quipped that the court needed to establish the identity of the prosecutor because he may have been replaced by a double.
Lipman described Navalny's release as an "amazing twist."
She said that his release was unlikely to have been as a result of protest action after the verdict was announced. The protest hadn't been nationwide and involved just a few thousand people, she said.
"It was not enough to force the authorities to retreat. Also, the prosecutors' request that he be released ... was filed even before there was a big crowd in the streets. It's really hard to believe.
"It could be the result of some sort of intrigue -- rivalries, tensions at the very top of the Russian political elite."
But she said any political involvement would be denied by the government.
"Their response, invariably, is, it's up to the court to decide," she said. "Of course they would never admit how they interfere."
RIA Novosti reported that the trial judge "repeatedly rejected claims over his partiality and denied several motions to have him replaced."
Will the conviction affect his bid to become mayor of Moscow?
Lipman said that if Navalny's conviction was upheld by a higher court, his name would be unable to appear on an electoral ballot. However, she said he could campaign in the meantime.
"After his release yesterday he can continue running. The idea is that now he is at large up until his lawyers send in an appeal in a higher court re-examine his case. He remains at large and his verdict is not effective," she said.
She said there was "good reason to predict" that the high court would uphold the verdict before the end of the campaign for the September 8 election.
"He is still on a hook. In a theory, this higher court could make a ruling even earlier and effectively terminate his campaign."