Peter Navarro, the former trade adviser to President Donald Trump, was denied his request for a 45-day continuance regarding the criminal charge of contempt of Congress he is facing. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta rejected the request for additional time to hire an attorney and also restricted Navarro’s public comments in advance of his arraignment set for Friday.
Mehta was appointed to the U.S.District Court for the District of Columbia by Barack Obama in 2014. He wrote in his ruling that the arraignment and status conference would not be delayed because “the public interest weighs in favor of moving this case forward through its preliminary stages.”
The gag order portion of the ruling prohibits Navarro from publicly discussing any matters that could be evidence in the case. The case involves Navarro’s refusal to cooperate with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked January 6 Committee. He has claimed that the executive privilege belonging to and claimed by President Trump prohibits his disclosure of protected information.
Mehta added that the order restricting Navarro’s speech is not a “gag order,’ but is instead a “protective order.” He said that Navarro is not prohibited from making public statements, but “places limits on defendant’s use of discovery materials produced by the government.”
Navarro began litigation against the January 6 Committee just days before being arrested on the committee’s charges of contempt of Congress. His lawsuit seeks to block the committee’s subpoenas ordering him to testify and provide documents regarding private communications he had with President Trump regarding the 2020 election and its aftermath.
Navarro told Newsmax host Eric Bolling on Monday after the ruling was issued that he has been told he could expect “up to a million dollars or more in legal fees to fight this bogus charge.”
He added that he had told an FBI agent just two days before his arrest that he would be cooperative if he was to be charged by Pelosi’s committee. He noted that it is common with technical charges of white-collar offenses for defendants to be allowed to arrange a “voluntary surrender.”
Navarro noted that the government decided against an orderly surrender for booking in order to have the showy arrest carried out inside Reagan National Airport. He added that the way officers approached the matter “cemented the idea that this is a show trial.”
Navarro also said that the FBI leaked the details of his arrest while he was placed in solitary confinement in leg irons, which indicates “this is more about politics than the law.”