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Peter Navarro complains about legal fees in letter to judge: ‘I’ll be eating dog food if I stay out of jail’

The Independent logo The Independent 6/9/2022 Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Capitol Riot Contempt © AP Capitol Riot Contempt

Peter Navarro, the former economic adviser to Donald Trump, told a federal judge on Wednesday that he is “at a severe disadvantage” and is facing trouble putting together a team of legal experts.

In a letter to judge Amit Mehta of the DC district court, Mr Navarro argued that although he remained without legal representation, the prosecution has begun filing motions to push for a speedy trial.

The justice department last Friday indicted Mr Navarro for contempt of Congress after he refused to comply with a congressional subpoena from the select committee investigating the 6 January riot at the US Capitol. He was arrested on Friday morning as he was boarding a plane to Nashville.

Mr Navarro said in his letter that he is “very actively seeking a legal team” but facing “a number of hurdles”. Earlier, he had hinted at defending himself to avoid paying a large sum in legal fees.

“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,” the letter read.

The 77-year-old reportedly also urged the judge to give him a 45-day extension to gather adequate legal counsel and prepare his defence.

“I will speak at a later date on the merits of allowing this civil suit to proceed prior to any criminal prosecution of what is a highly controversial and unprecedented case,” he wrote.

The former Trump adviser told Fox News on Wednesday that hiring a lawyer would wipe out his retirement savings. “This is going to cost a half a million dollars, from what I’m being told... I’ll be eating dog food if I stay out of jail so I am trying to grapple with that.”

Last week, Mr Navarro told reporters that he was “representing myself pro” because he didn’t want to be “dragged down into the muck of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of my retirement savings on this kind of venture”.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has condemned his former trade adviser’s indictment, asking why people involved in Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests were not held to the same account.

“Our great trade genius, Professor Peter Navarro, was just handcuffed, shackled, and put in jail, while the lowlifes [sic] of ANTIFA and BLM are allowed to rip off the public, roam free on the streets, kill people, and destroy our once great cities (all run by Democrats),” the former president said on Truth Social.

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