Prosecutors are trying to slap a gag order on Trump adviser Peter Navarro to prevent him creating a ‘carnival atmosphere’ or sharing evidence from a grand jury as he fights charges of contempt of Congress.
He appeared in court on Friday after being arrested.
Immediately afterwards he addressed reporters outside the courthouse and condemned the manner of his arrest. Two Fox News appearance have followed, in which he claimed he was treated like an ‘Al Qaeda terrorist.’
On Wednesday, federal prosecutors said they wanted to provide Navarro – who says he is having trouble finding a legal team – with the grand jury evidence that led to charges so that he could prepare a defense.
But they said his conduct suggested there should be protections to ensure he does not use the material for a media campaign.
In return he accused them of trying to exploit the fact that he does not have legal representation yet.
‘The defendant’s extrajudicial statements, however, demonstrate a substantial risk that, without a protective order, the defendant will use non-public discovery for improper purposes instead of to prepare the defense he plans to present before this court,’ wrote the prosecutors.
Without having his own lawyer, they added, increased the risk.
Prosecutor say they believe former Trump adviser Peter Navarro will litigate charges against him in the press, and have asked a judge for an order preventing him sharing non-public evidence from a grand jury
Navarro appeared in court on Friday after being arrested and charged with contempt of Congress, and promptly addressed reporters on the courtroom steps afterwards
On Monday, Navarro appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News evening show, and claimed that he had been treated like a terrorist
‘The defendant has demonstrated through his public statements that he intends to litigate the merits of the pending charges in the press,’ they said in the application for a protective order.
‘Moreover, proceeding pro se, the defendant does not have an attorney who can monitor his use of non-public discovery material and who is subject to the District’s clear rules limiting extrajudicial statements and other efforts to taint the jury pool.
A gag, they add, would meet the court’s obligation ‘to avoid the “carnival atmosphere” that might accompany a case receiving substantial public attention … as this case already has, due, in part, to the defendant’s press appearances.’
Navarro is the second former Trump Aide to face a criminal trial for ignoring a subpoena to provide evidence to a House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Steve Bannon is due to go on trial next month.
During his first court appearance, Navarro was represented by a public defender.
Navarro appeared on Fox News again on Wednesday, to condemn his treatment
Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a request for a ‘protective order’ in DC federal court, saying they feared Navarro would share non-public evidence from a grand jury
But in a letter to Washington D.C. federal court, he asked for a delay in the case so that he could assemble a legal team.
‘Clearly, the prosecution’s strategy is to take advantage of an individual without adequate representation,’ he wrote to Judge Amit Mehta.
‘At this point, I am very actively seeking a legal team but am facing a number of hurdles.’
The next paragraph was redacted in a public copy of the filing.
‘My very freedom here is at stake and I ask for the court’s understanding that it will take time both to find the appropriate representation and time to develop an appropriate legal strategy,’ he said.
‘In the meantime, I ask for the requested extension and further request that the prosecution stand down on further motions designed to exploit my lack of representation until I secure representation.’
After appearing in court, Navarro blasted his treated by FBI agents.
‘I actually live right next to the FBI. It’s like a 100-yard walk to my door,’ he said.
‘What did they do instead of that?
‘They let me get all the way to the airport, try to board the plane, come at me, put me in handcuffs, not let me use my phone, take me down, and put me in a jail cell.’
It was the first step in a media campaign that has seen him making his case on television.
He was given airtime on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show on Monday, in which he claimed he was treated like a terrorist.
And he railed against the House committee that recommended he be prosecuted and accused the Justice Department of behaving illegally.
‘The legislative branch is not supposed to be the judge, jury, and executioner,” Navarro said.
‘I heard one of your commentators there when you played that clip, [saying] the purpose was to punish Peter Navarro.
‘That’s not their role. That’s the judiciary’s role, so that alone is sufficient to render what they have done illegal and therefore what the Department of Justice did illegal.’
On Tuesday, he held forth on Newsmax.
And a day later, after prosecutors filed their application, he appeared again on Fox News.