Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro's request for a 45-day stay on a charge of contempt of Congress was denied by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who also slapped Navarro with a gag order before his June 17 arraignment.
The gag order restricts Navarro from discussing evidence in the case, which is related to Navarro's refusal to violate former President Donald Trump's claim to executive privilege on private communications between the president.
"The court will not delay the upcoming arraignment and status conference, as the public interest weighs in favor of moving this case forward through its preliminary stages," Mehta wrote in the ruling Monday.
"To be clear, this is not a 'gag' order," on restricting Navarro about speaking to the media on evidence in the case," he added.
"The protective order does not bar defendant from making public statements about these proceedings; rather, the protective order places limits on defendant's use of discovery materials produced by the government," the ruling read. "Defendant must abide by its terms, absent a modification by the court."
Navarro's arrest came just days after he filed a lawsuit against the House Jan. 6 Select Committee and a federal prosecutor to block the subpoena ordering him to provide testimony and documents on communications with the president surrounding the 2020 presidential election, allegations of election fraud, and the subsequent storming of the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021.
Navarro told Newsmax's "Eric Bolling: The Balance" he will be using his September-released book "Taking Back Trump's America" as his "legal defense fund."
"I'm looking at what experts are telling me could be up to a million dollars or more in legal fees to fight this bogus charge," Navarro told Bolling on Monday after the court ruling dropped. "A bridge too far here for the Department of Justice and the FBI. I mean, what they did was outrageous, Eric.
"I mean, I literally live across the street from the FBI. It's common when you have this white collar offense – that's not even fraud, it's just a technical offense – to arrange what's called a voluntary surrender, and I had reached out to the FBI agent two days before they took me down at the airport said, 'Hey, whatever you need, I'm there.'
"They didn't do that. And that just cemented the idea that this was a show trial. I asked for an attorney when they arrested me. I didn't get that. They put me in a jail cell and leg irons for a couple of hours while I waited, and meanwhile they leaked it to the press that I had been arrested.
"I mean, all of that tells you that this is more about politics than the law, and people should be indignant about this, particularly in Trump land."
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