WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Thursday dismissed an allegation by former Trump White House official Peter Navarro, who claimed he was denied access to an attorney when he was arrested on contempt charges last week.
In a court filing, the Justice Department claimed Navarro lied to the judge and media representatives, claiming he was told he could not call a lawyer and was denied food and water while being held for several hours after his arrest on Friday .
Navarro was charged with refusing to cooperate in a congressional investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. The 72-year-old faced one charge of contempt for failing to appear for testimony before the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack and a second charge for failing to produce documents requested by the committee.
During a court appearance on Friday, Navarro claimed the Justice Department committed “prosecutorial misconduct” and said he was told he could not contact anyone after he was approached and handcuffed by an FBI agent at the airport on Friday. He said he was arrested trying to board a flight bound for Nashville, Tennessee, for a television appearance.
The Justice Department’s claim was made in a court filing responding to Navarro’s request to delay his next court appearance.
“The defendant bases his motion for continuation in part on his allegations that the government is attempting to withdraw his legal representation — for example, by allegedly refusing to call him when he was arrested and making motions in the normal course of action with this case,” it said in the court records. “The allegations of the defendant are false.”
The Justice Department also on Thursday released a copy of an FBI agent’s report detailing Navarro’s arrest at Reagan National Airport and how agents accommodated him by giving him chocolates, allowing him time to comfort a traveling companion at the airport , and repeatedly adjusted his handcuffs by loosening them and giving more room between his wrists after he complained.
It said Navarro had been briefed on his rights and told the agents did not want to interview him. He requested a call, the report said, and an agent told him they would contact his attorney if he gave them the attorney’s name.
According to the report, Navarro replied: “I’m supposed to be on live TV tonight. I’d like to call the producer and tell him I won’t be there. Can I have my phone?” The agent then told him that if he provided the attorney’s name, they would quickly arrange a call with his attorney.
Navarro said in court he was considering representing himself. He wrote in a court filing on Wednesday that he still does not have a lawyer and asked the judge in his case to delay his next court appearance by 45 days.
During an appearance with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, Navarro claimed the FBI “went with the shock and awe terror strategy.”
“The next thing I know I’m in shackles and handcuffs and I’m being strip searched,” Navarro said. “People don’t want to sit in shackles in solitary confinement, refusing food, refusing water, refusing a lawyer. That’s where we live.”
According to the FBI report, Navarro received a bottle of water, chocolate, nuts and dried fruit at the airport about an hour after his arrest. Navarro “was asked if he would like anything else to eat or drink, which he declined,” according to the report.