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Manhattan DA sues Rep. Jim Jordan to block GOP inquiry into Trump case

Bragg says the committee's subpoena would cause "imminent irreparable harm if the secret and privileged material is compelled to be disclosed."
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WASHINGTON — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, asking a court to block elements of the congressional inquiry into his case against former President Donald Trump.

Calling it an “unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional attack” of an ongoing investigation, Bragg said in the suit that allowing Jordan's demands, including subpoenaing former Assistant DA Mark Pomerantz, would cause “imminent irreparable harm if the secret and privileged material is compelled to be disclosed.”

Bragg's suit asked the court to block Jordan's subpoena of Pomerantz. Jordan, R-Ohio, wants Pomerantz to sit for a deposition as part of the Judiciary panel's investigation into the indictment of Trump. The former president pleaded not guilty last week to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records related to his role in hush money payments made toward the end of his 2016 presidential campaign.

"Chairman Jordan’s subpoena is an unconstitutional attempt to undermine an ongoing New York felony criminal prosecution and investigation," Bragg said in a statement Tuesday. "As our complaint details, this is an unprecedented, illegitimate interference by Congress that lacks any legal merit and defies basic principles of federalism."

A federal judge in New York has scheduled an April 19 hearing for Bragg’s lawsuit.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a press conference in New York
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks about former President Donald Trump's arraignment in New York on April 4.Jeenah Moon / The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Bragg is also suing Pomerantz "to protect the District Attorney’s Office’s interests and privileges and in light of the District Attorney’s Office’s instruction to Mr. Pomerantz not to provide any information or materials relating to his work in the District Attorney’s Office in response to the subpoena."

In response, Jordan tweeted that the lawsuit attempts to block congressional oversight.

"First, they indict a president for no crime," he wrote. "Then, they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they say they used to do it."

Pomerantz didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit said that beginning in March, Jordan launched a "transparent campaign to intimidate and attack" Bragg, "making demands for confidential documents and testimony from the District Attorney himself as well as his current and former employees and officials."

Bragg's office argued that "basic principles of federalism and common sense" as well as Supreme Court precedent forbid Congress from demanding "highly sensitive and confidential local prosecutorial information."

Congress doesn't have any power to supervise state criminal prosecutions or power to serve subpoenas "for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to punish those investigated," the lawsuit said.

Jordan's subpoena of Pomerantz last week "is no less of an affront to state sovereignty than subpoenaing the District Attorney himself," it continued.

The lawsuit is the culmination of a weekslong dispute between Bragg and Jordan, who issued the subpoena to Pomerantz two days after Trump was charged with 34 felony counts. In response, Bragg said that the GOP chairman of the Judiciary Committee was attempting to "undermine" the criminal case against the former president by seeking Pomerantz's testimony.

Jordan said last week that Pomerantz's previous role in the DA’s office leading the probe into Trump’s finances makes him “uniquely situated to provide information that is relevant and necessary” to his committee’s investigation into Bragg‘s prosecution of Trump. Jordan argued that Pomerantz had already shared information publicly, in a book that was published in February, as well as in media interviews.

In addition to asking the court to declare the subpoena to Pomerantz invalid, Bragg also asked in the complaint to declare any future subpoenas "on the District Attorney himself or any of his current or former employees or officials" invalid and unconstitutional.

Jordan had also requested testimony last week from Matthew Colangelo, senior counsel to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Separately, Bragg's office criticized Republicans on Monday after the House Judiciary Committee announced that it would hold a field hearing on crime in New York City. GOP lawmakers have repeatedly asserted that the Manhattan district attorney has been too busy investigating Trump and is not doing enough to combat violence.