Protesters on Thursday interrupted Peter Navarro, a former Trump economic adviser, as he sought to address the press outside a D.C. courthouse, where he had just been convicted of contempt of Congress for his failure to cooperate with the House Jan. 6 select committee.
“Here we are, with one of the most important constitutional separation-of-powers issues, and people will not let me speak,” Navarro said at a podium, against a backdrop of loud protesters gathered outside the building.
“This is my First Amendment right. This is free speech,” one protester said.
As Navarro tried to speak over the crowd, a tense scene erupted behind him, where a woman carrying a sign accused a man with a flagpole of assaulting her and a law enforcement officer, who appeared to be a marshal, intervened in the confrontation.
“The marshal just saw you, you’re in trouble,” the protester said to the man carrying a flagpole, as the court marshal approached and signaled to him to back away. “You’re in trouble. You just assaulted me.”
The protester then pivoted to face Navarro’s audience, which had become mostly silent since Navarro was forced to pause his remarks as the situation unfolded. The protester was still holding her sign, which read, “Bro, should’ve plead the 5th,” followed by, “Peter 4 Prison!”
“That man just assaulted me. He stuck a flagpole in between my legs,” the protester said to the crowd.
For about 30 seconds, Navarro stood at the podium without saying anything, as protesters shouted about democracy and made other unintelligible comments. The scene involving the man with the flagpole continued to unfold, out of earshot.
“This is a sad day for America. Not because they were guilty verdicts, because I can’t come out and have an honest decent conversation with the people of America,” Navarro eventually said to the crowd, resuming his remarks.
“The people of America, I want you to understand that this is the problem we have right here, this kind of divide in our country between the woke, Marxist left and everybody else here, and this is nuts,” Navarro continued, before resuming his commentary on the case.
Earlier Thursday afternoon, a jury arrived at a guilty verdict for Navarro after deliberating for nearly five hours. He faced two counts of contempt of Congress, for failing to comply with a subpoena. One count related to his failure to produce documents and another related to his failure to show up for a deposition.
After the verdict was read, Navarro’s attorney, Stan Woodward, called for a mistrial. He claimed jurors were exposed to protesters holding signs related to the case while they took their break outside. Prosecutors denied seeing protesters at the exit that Woodward claimed the jurors used. The court would not rule on the matter until the defense provided a video of the situation.
Ella Lee contributed reporting.
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