Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg filed suit against House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan on Tuesday and called the Ohio GOP’s inquiry into the prosecution of former President Donald Trump “an unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional attack” on a local criminal case.
The lawsuit ramped up the conflict between Bragg, a Democrat, and GOP defenders of Trump, including Congressional members, in what could become a showdown over the constitutional responsibilities of the different branches of government.
D.A. Bragg indicted the former president on 34 counts of filing false business records involving his alleged $130,000 hush-money payment to former stripper and porn actress Stormy Daniels. A week ago, former President Trump pleaded not guilty.
Jordan, an Ohio Republican, is demanding answers from Bragg about the case, which three GOP House chairmen called politically motivated. Rep. Jordan has also subpoenaed Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor in Bragg’s office, who wrote a book about his time in office.
However, Bragg said Jordan’s inquiry has interfered in his criminal case in the first congressional effort of its type in U.S. history.
Bragg’s lawsuit characterized Rep. Jordan’s committee as painting Congress as a “super grand jury” to “second guess the judgment of New York citizens and interfere with the state criminal justice process.”
The lawsuit claims Trump’s rhetoric before and during his indictment has increased threats and Republican lawmakers to launch a retaliation campaign. According to the lawsuit, Bragg’s office received over 1,000 emails and calls from Trump supporters, including a package containing a suspicious white powder and death threats.
“These statements have had a powerful effect,” said the lawsuit. “But rather than denounce efforts to vilify and denigrate the District Attorney and the grand jury process, House Republicans are participating in those efforts.”
D.A. Bragg’s lawsuit calls out allies of Trump, including Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, and GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, for allegedly stoking extreme reactions to the case against the former president that echoed calls for demonstrations before January 6, 2021.
The lawsuit draws comparisons between Trump’s calls for protests in response to his arrest as bearing “a striking resemblance to the December 19, 2020, tweet where he urged supporters to protest after losing the 2020 presidential election.
The lawsuit aims to block Jordan’s subpoena of Pomerantz, which Bragg said is seeking “highly sensitive and confidential local prosecutorial information.” The D.A. said basic common sense principles, federalism, and Supreme Court precedent could forbid Congress from demanding the information.
Jordan: Bragg is trying to avoid oversight
Jordan responded to the lawsuit via Twitter and said Bragg is trying to avoid oversight.
“First, they indict a president for no crime,” said Jordan. “Then, they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they say they used to do it.”
Bragg’s committee scheduled a hearing Monday in New York to look into crime statistics in the city.
The Bragg lawsuit alleges that Jordan is seeking to interrogate Pomerantz about the Trump case, which he said was “no less an affront to state sovereignty than subpoenaing the District Attorney himself.” Jordan claims he is conducting oversight, “He has no power under the Constitution to oversee state and local criminal matters,” according to the lawsuit.
“The Judiciary Committee’s subpoena to Mr. Pomerantz marks the first time in our nation’s history that Congress has used its compulsory process to interfere with an ongoing state criminal case,” said the lawsuit. “The subpoena would also irreparably injure the District Attorney by, among other things, interfering with an ongoing criminal case, compromising grand jury secrecy and the attorney-client privilege, and disrupting his preparation for trial.”
Trump is charged with falsifying business records. According to Bragg, the falsification was linked to violations of federal and state campaign laws, which elected to raise the charges from misdemeanors to felonies.