Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg sued Rep. Jim Jordan on Tuesday, a rare transfer as he seeks to halt a Home Judiciary Committee inquiry that the prosecutor contends is a “clear marketing campaign to intimidate and assault” him over his indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Bragg, a Democrat, is asking a decide to invalidate subpoenas that Jordan, the committee’s Republican chair, has issued or plans to subject as a part of an investigation of Bragg’s dealing with of the case, the primary felony prosecution of a former U.S. president.
U.S. District Decide Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee who beforehand served as a federal chapter court docket decide, declined Tuesday to take quick motion on the lawsuit. She scheduled an preliminary listening to for April 19 in Manhattan, the day earlier than the committee plans to query, underneath subpoena, a prime former prosecutor who was concerned within the Trump probe.
Bragg’s lawsuit, a forceful escalation after weeks of sparring with Jordan and different Republican lawmakers in letters and media statements, seeks to finish what it says is a “constitutionally harmful fishing expedition” that threatens the sovereignty and integrity of a state-level prosecution.
“Congress lacks any legitimate legislative function to interact in a free-ranging marketing campaign of harassment in retaliation for the District Lawyer’s investigation and prosecution of Mr. Trump underneath the legal guidelines of New York,” the lawsuit says, citing the shortage of authority within the Structure for Congress “to supervise, not to mention disrupt, ongoing state legislation felony issues.”
In response, Jordan tweeted Tuesday: “First, they indict a president for no crime. Then they sue to dam congressional oversight after we ask questions concerning the federal funds they are saying they used to do it.”
The Judiciary Committee not too long ago issued a subpoena looking for testimony from a Mark Pomerantz, the previous prosecutor who beforehand oversaw the Trump investigation and sparred with Bragg over the path of the probe earlier than leaving the workplace final 12 months. Pomerantz, who has declined to cooperate with the committee, is underneath subpoena to testify at a deposition on April 20 except Vyskocil intervenes. The committee has additionally sought paperwork and testimony from the DA’s workplace however Bragg has rejected these requests.
The committee is scheduled to carry a listening to in Manhattan on Monday on crime in New York Metropolis and what it alleges are Bragg’s “pro-crime, anti-victim” insurance policies. The DA’s workplace, nevertheless, factors to statistics displaying that violent crime in Manhattan has dropped since Bragg took workplace in January 2022.
In response, Bragg mentioned that if Jordan, who’s from Ohio, “actually cared about public security,” he would journey to a few of the main cities in his house state, the place crime is reportedly larger than in New York.
Bragg is represented within the lawsuit by Theodore Boutrous, a well known First Modification lawyer who has additionally represented Trump’s estranged niece, Mary Trump, in authorized clashes along with her well-known uncle.
Vyskocil beforehand made headlines when she dismissed a defamation lawsuit introduced towards Fox Information host Tucker Carlson by former Playboy mannequin Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 by way of the Nationwide Enquirer to maintain quiet about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. In on-air remarks, Carlson referred to as the payoff “a basic case of extortion,” however Vyskocil dominated in 2020 that the conservative commentator was participating in “rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary” and that he was not “stating precise info.”
In his lawsuit, Bragg mentioned he’s taking authorized motion “in response to an unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional assault by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State felony prosecution and investigation of former President Donald J. Trump.”
Trump was indicted on March 30 with 34 felony counts of falsifying enterprise data associated to hush-money funds made through the 2016 marketing campaign to bury allegations that he had extramarital sexual encounters. He has denied wrongdoing and pleaded not responsible at an arraignment final week in Manhattan.
Republicans have been railing towards Bragg even earlier than Trump’s indictment, with Jordan main the trigger by issuing a sequence of letters and subpoenas to people concerned with the case. Pomerantz refused to voluntarily cooperate with the committee’s request final month on the instruction of Bragg’s workplace, citing the continuing investigation.
Jordan sees Pomerantz and Carey Dunne, who had been prime deputies tasked with operating the investigation on a day-to-day foundation, as catalysts for Bragg’s choice to maneuver forward with the hush cash case.
Bragg’s lawsuit units up what’s an already tenuous struggle over the scope and limits of congressional oversight powers into new territory. Home Republicans have argued that as a result of the Manhattan case entails marketing campaign finance and what prosecutors say was a conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election, Congress has direct oversight.
Many anticipated that Jordan would subpoena Bragg by now however it seems the forceful back-and-forth between the 2 elected officers has come to a head. Jordan’s committee has come arduous at Bragg, however a court docket struggle over a committee subpoena might impede its momentum and amplify criticism amongst Democrats that the panel is taking part in politics as a substitute of addressing substantive points.
Amiri reported from Washington. Related Press reporter Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.