Peter Navarro calls for the release of his arrest recordings in criminal contempt case


Former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is calling for the release of audio and video recordings and documents pertaining to his arrest after being indicted on criminal contempt charges last week.

Mr. Navarro said the public release of the material is needed to set the record straight after federal prosecutors accused Mr. Navarro of making “false” claims about being denied adequate legal counsel after being detained at Reagan National Airport.

“It is the prosecution’s claim that is both false and misleading,” Mr. Navarro said.

“As soon as the defendant asked to call for legal advice, the agents should have read from a written card the defendant his Miranda rights and done everything within their power to allow him a phone call to seek legal advice as he requested well prior to his court appearance,” he said. “They did not do so and thereby deprived the defendant of appropriate legal counsel.”

Mr. Navarro, who was indicted by a grand jury last week, has previously objected to the FBI’s handling of his arrest which was carried out claiming the public arrest was a punitive measure.

Mr. Navarro told reporters soon after his arrest that he chose to represent himself due to the prohibitive costs of retaining defense counsel for the case.

On Wednesday Mr. Navarro wrote in a letter to D.C. District Court Judge Amit Mehta that he was “at a severe disadvantage” without legal counsel and requested a 45-day extension to his arraignment.

He claimed in the letter that the FBI agent in charge “refused to allow me to contact an attorney for legal advice prior to appearing before the magistrate despite repeated requests and then tried to cover his tracks by providing a public defender a mere three minutes before the hearing was scheduled to begin.”

Prosecutors denied Mr. Navarro’s accusations in a Thursday filing objecting to his request for an extension.

“The Defendant bases his request for a continuance, in part, on his accusations that the Government is attempting to deprive him of counsel—for example, by allegedly denying him a call to counsel upon his arrest and filing motions in the normal course of proceeding with this case,” the prosecutors wrote. “The Defendant’s claims are false.”

On Friday, Mr. Navarro requested “signed affidavits from Special Agents Walter Giardina and Sebastian Gardner denying the defendant requested a call for legal advice on the jetway where he was taken,” in addition to audio and video recordings of the arrest and transcripts of the conversations that took place.

In the filing, Mr. Navarro also claims he was strip-searched placed in leg irons “for several hours,” denied a request for water, and not provided food.

Earlier this week, prosecutors requested a gag order against Mr. Navarro to ensure he does not share discovery evidence with the public as he prepares his defense. They said it could create a “carnival atmosphere.”

“The defendant’s extrajudicial statements … 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,” the prosecutors wrote in a statement.

Mr. Navarro was indicted on two counts of contempt stemming from his refusal to cooperate with the Jan. 6 committee, which is investigating the Capitol riot.

He was charged with one count of contempt for failing to appear for a deposition and one count for his refusal to produce documents to the Democrat-led panel, despite being subpoenaed by the committee.

Shortly after Mr. Navarro was indicted, the Justice Department declined to indict former Trump White House officials Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino after both men were found in contempt of Congress by the committee.

All three former officials refused to comply fully with the committee’s probe citing the former president’s claims of executive privilege, which former President Donald Trump asserted in a lawsuit to block the release of White House documents to the committee.

Former White House adviser Steve Bannon has also been indicted on criminal contempt of Congress charges for bucking the committee’s demands.


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Jeffrey Damon
the authorJeffrey Damon