New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks after former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared at Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, after his indictment by a Manhattan grand jury following a probe into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels, in New York City, April 4, 2023.
Brendan McDermid | Reuters
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block a House Judiciary Committee subpoena issued by its chairman Rep. Jim Jordan to a former prosecutor who played a key role in Bragg’s criminal investigation of ex-President Donald Trump.
The suit also asks a judge to rule that any potential future subpoena by the Judiciary Committee or Jordan on Bragg himself, or other of his current and past employees, will “be invalid, unenforceable, unconstitutional.”
Bragg’s suit escalates a battle that began when the Jordan, R-Ohio, and other Trump allies in the House recently opened an inquiry into the D.A.’s prosecution of Trump that has demanded documents and other material.
The suit calls that inquiry an “unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional attack by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation of former President Donald J. Trump.”
Later Tuesday, a magistrate judge rejected Bragg’s request for a temporary restraining order against the subpoena issued to Mark Pomerantz, a former special assistant D.A.
But that judge scheduled an April 19 hearing in Manhattan federal court on his challenge to the subpoena. The hearing was set a day before Pomerantz’s testimony would occur pursuant to the subpoena.
Bragg’s 50-page complaint says that “Congress has no power to supervise state criminal prosecution,” and accuses Jordan and his committee of engaging in “a campaign of intimidation, retaliation and obstruction.”
The suit names as defendants Jordan, the Judiciary Committee and Pomerantz.
Pomerantz and another prosecutor quit the D.A.’s office in early 2022 after Bragg indicated he would not pursue an indictment against Trump in connection with false statements around the valuations of real estate assets owned by the Trump Organization. Pomerantz later wrote a book about his work on the probe.
Jordan and the committee had Pomerantz served with a subpoena last week, two days after Trump was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on a grand jury indictment alleging 34 felony counts of falsifying business records.
The prosecution, the first of any U.S. president, former or otherwise, is related to a $130,000 hush money payment that Trump’s then-lawyer Michael Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.
Bragg’s suit says that the subpoena, and other demands by Jordan for information, “seek highly sensitive and confidential local prosecutorial information that belongs to the Office of the District Attorney and the People of New York.”
“Basic principles of federalism and common sense, as well as binding Supreme Court
precedent, forbid Congress from demanding it,” the suit says.
Bragg argues that the subpoena for Pomerantz “has no legitimate legislative purpose,” and that even if it did it is still not enforceable because it could allow the Judiciary Committee to seek secret grand jury material and other investigative information that is protected by law.
Jordan quickly responded to Bragg in a tweet.
“First, they indict a president for no crime,” Jordan wrote. “Then, they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they say they used to do it.”