Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, 77, is seeking a 45-day extension on his defense against contempt of Congress charges, citing his self representation and needing time to hire an attorney.
Navarro's plea came Wednesday to U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta, the Washington Examiner reported.
"The prosecution is placing me at a severe disadvantage," Navarro wrote to the judge. "I note in this regard that the prosecution is also pushing very hard for a 'speedy trial' as part of its strategy to exploit the unrepresented — this issue came up with the magistrate."
Navarro had initially intended to defend himself in court to avoid having to pay for expensive representation.
"I'm representing myself pro se because I do not want to be dragged down into the muck of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of my retirement savings on this kind of venture," Navarro said last week.
Navarro alleged the FBI kept him from consulting a lawyer before his arraignment, only to provide a public defender for a brief time before the court appearance. That came after Navarro was arrested Thursday by FBI agents at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
"I remind the court here that upon my arrest, 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," Navarro wrote in his letter. "This put me at a very severe disadvantage at the outset.
"Clearly, the prosecution's strategy is to take advantage of an individual without adequate representation."
Navarro noted his arrest came just three days after he sued the House Jan. 6 Select Committee and a federal prosecutor to block the subpoena seeking him to provide testimony and documents on what he considers privileged communications with then-President Donald Trump.
"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," Navarro added in his letter. "Finally, I note that this arrest occurred a mere three days after I filed a civil suit seeking to enjoin the U.S. Attorney from doing exactly what they did."
Navarro faces a fine up to $100,000 per charge and up to one year in prison.
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