April 21, 2023: On Tuesday, a federal appeals court temporarily blocked a House Judiciary Committee summons for testimony from a retired Manhattan prosecutor involved in a criminal search of ex-President Donald Trump.
The order by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York came hours before the retired prosecutor, Mark Pomerantz, had been directed by a federal judge to be for a deposition with the Committee.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office is leading an unprecedented case against Trump, the Republican former president and current lead presidential candidate, on charges of falsifying business records. Trump is pleading not guilty to the authorities, relating to hush money payments made amid the 2016 election to two women alleging they had affairs with Trump.
The Republican-majority House Judiciary Committee, which leads by Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, established an investigation into Bragg’s case, saying it looked into whether the prosecution was politically motivated.
The Committee subpoenaed Pomerantz, resigning from the DA’s office in the recent months after Bragg took charge in January 2022. Pomerantz works on the office’s investigations of Trump regarding Bragg’s predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr. In a resigning letter, Pomerantz stated there was “no doubt” that Trump was committing crimes and questioned Bragg’s apparent decision to pause the probes into Trump.
In answer to the subpoena to Pomerantz, Bragg is suing the Judiciary Committee to try to block the retired prosecutor from testifying. Bragg’s civil suit that the congressional panel had “zero power to supervise state criminal prosecutions.”
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump nominee, denied Bragg’s effort to invalidate the subpoena for Pomerantz.
“The subpoena issuing with a ‘valid legislative purpose’ connecting with the ‘broad’ and ‘indispensable’ congressional power to ‘search,'” Vyskocil noted in federal court in Manhattan.
“Mr Pomerantz appearing for the congressional deposition. No one is over the law,” the judge wrote.
On Monday, her ruling, which came after a hearing, was contemptuous of Bragg’s lawsuit. “The initial 35 pages of the Complaint have much to do with the subpoena at issue and are short of a public relations tirade against retired President and current presidential candidate Donald Trump,” she has written.
Jordan had argued that his Committee had the right to probe Bragg’s work as the D.A.’s office was getting some federal funds.
Pomerantz had asked Vyskocil to block the subpoena, which says in a filing that it puts him in an “impossible position.”
″If I refuse to provide to the Committee, I risk helping in contempt of Congress and stating to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. If, on the different hand, I defy the District Attorney’s instructions and answer questions, I witness possible legal or ethical consequences, which includes criminal prosecution,” Pomerantz wrote.