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Judge Denies Manhattan DA's Effort to Prevent Congressional Testimony

 May 9, 2024

A federal judge has ruled against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg in a legal tussle over a congressional subpoena.

Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor who investigated Donald Trump, is now required to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, as CBS News reports.

Bragg sought to obstruct a congressional subpoena that demanded testimony from Pomerantz, who previously investigated former President Donald Trump under Bragg’s jurisdiction. The subpoena was issued as part of a broader inquiry by the House Judiciary Committee into what members perceive as potentially politically motivated prosecutions.

Federal Judge Declares Subpoena Valid

Federal Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil dismissed Bragg's attempts to quash the subpoena. In her decision, she affirmed the legitimacy of the Congressional committee’s request, stating it served a valid legislative purpose. Vyskocil emphasized the political nature of the dispute but clarified it did not impact her judicial decision.

The legal confrontation stems from charges brought against Trump in Manhattan, leading to heightened scrutiny by the Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan. The Committee has accused Bragg, a Democrat, of using his prosecutorial power for political gain against Trump.

Judge Points to Politics on Both Sides

Amid allegations of politicization by both parties, Judge Vyskocil noted, "There's politics going on on both sides here." Her comments highlighted the charged atmosphere surrounding the case. Bragg, in response to the subpoena, claimed that Jordan was politically motivated to defend Trump.

Bragg’s office challenged the subpoena on the grounds that Pomerantz had not waived his privilege by publishing a memoir that contained details of the Trump investigation. This argument was central to the courtroom debates.

Legal Discussions on Privilege and Precedents

During the legal proceedings, Bragg's attorney, Leslie Dubeck, argued that the confidentiality privilege rested with the D.A.'s office, not Pomerantz individually. However, Judge Vyskocil questioned whether Pomerantz's publication of insider information in his book constituted a waiver of this privilege.

The courtroom exchanges also touched on the unprecedented nature of the case. Both sides of the legal argument cited the lack of previous similar legal confrontations, with the Judge remarking on the novelty of both a Congressional committee’s action against a local district attorney and such a district attorney indicting a former president.

Implications for Federal Funding and Political Influence

The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation also seeks to uncover the extent of federal funding used in the Manhattan D.A.’s investigation of Trump. Questions have been raised about whether these funds were used in a politically motivated manner.

Matthew Berry, representing the committee, posed hypotheticals regarding the potential for political repercussions influencing presidential duties and policies, especially if a precedent of local prosecution against former presidents is set.

Subpoena Compliance and Appeal Efforts

Despite the judicial ruling, it remains uncertain whether Mark Pomerantz will comply with the subpoena. The committee has demanded his testimony to delve deeper into the investigative processes and funding.

In response to the court’s decision, Bragg's office is seeking a stay pending an appeal, which Judge Vyskocil denied on the same Wednesday the decision was issued. A spokesperson for Bragg expressed disagreement with the court's ruling and confirmed their intention to appeal.


In conclusion, the legal battle underscores a complex intertwining of law, politics, and the oversight responsibilities of Congressional committees.

As the situation unfolds, the implications of this case could reach beyond the immediate legal proceedings, potentially affecting future prosecutorial actions and the balance of political power.