Peter Navarro, a prominent university professor and a former White House advisor, is set to stand trial this fall in Los Angeles for an alleged assault in 2014. The trial follows a long and winding legal saga involving multiple rounds of appeals, thousands of dollars in legal bills, and a defense commissioned to both test the strength of the prosecution’s case and the Constitution’s guarantee of due process.
Navarro, then a professor at the California State University at Northridge, was charged with assaulting a student who he said had been routinely disruptive and disrespectful to both his students and himself. A two-day trial was scheduled to begin in November of 2016, but due to the complexity of the trial, it was repeatedly postponed and pushed back until it was set for September 21st in 2020.
Nearly six years after the incident, Navarro’s legal team has been stripped to the bone, leaving him with just about three months to prepare for his trial and an increasingly dwindled defense fund. Though his team was originally commissioned to challenge beneficial trust associated with the student’s case, a successful interpleader petition left Navarro and his attorneys with very limited funds to pursue the case.
Amid this increasingly desperate and costly legal battle, Navarro has repeatedly complained that he is the victim of prosecutorial misconduct and unfairly targeted. Despite successfully pressing several requests for discovery, his defense team seems unlikely to have enough time and resources to raise the issues they wish to in court.
Navarro stands accused of battery and assault, but he maintains his innocence. His ordeal could stand as a reminder of how expensive and draining the legal process in America can be for even the most educated and agile minds. While Navarro will likely get his day in court, it remains to be seen whether he will actually be able to present his legal case as intended and be given the due process he deserves.