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DA Bragg sues Jim Jordan, claiming 'an unconstitutional attempt to undermine' the case

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks at a press conference after the arraignment of former President Donald Trump in New York on April 4.
John Minchillo
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AP
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks at a press conference after the arraignment of former President Donald Trump in New York on April 4.

Updated April 11, 2023 at 7:04 PM ET

The New York prosecutor who is pursuing criminal charges against former President Donald Trump says a Republican-led congressional committee is trying to interfere with his case.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Braggalleges "an unconstitutional attempt to undermine" his investigation and is suing Jim Jordan, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for what he says are Jordan's attempts to influence an active New York state prosecution.

Bragg says Jordan has launched a campaign to intimidate and attack him and that Jordan is demanding confidential documents that are highly sensitive and belong to local prosecutors. In the filing, he says it goes against Supreme Court precedent for Jordan, a member of Congress, to demand those documents.

Jordan and Bragg have been sparring for weeks

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leads his panel's first meeting in the new Republican majority on Feb. 1.
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
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AP
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, leads his panel's first meeting in the new Republican majority on Feb. 1.

The House Judiciary Committee and Bragg have been sparring since it became clear that Trump would be indicted.

In recent weeks, before the former president was indicted, Jordan and two other Republican House committee chairmen sent a letter to Bragg asking for documents and testimony related to the Trump investigation. The members called Bragg's investigation politically motivated and an abuse of power. Bragg's office responded with a letter defending its work, and said that Congress doesn't have oversight of state prosecutors. The letter said the information Jordan was asking for at the time was confidential and about a pending criminal investigation.

Then, Trump's unprecedented indictment came — Bragg's office charged a former president for the first time. Trump pleaded not guilty.

Two days after Trump's arraignment in New York, Jordan and the House committee subpoenaed a former attorney in Bragg's office, Mark Pomerantz, who wrote a book that was critical of Bragg's legal judgments.

What's in Bragg's lawsuit against Jordan?

Now with this lawsuit, Bragg is hitting back at the committee, suing to block Pomerantz from testifying. He said Congress has no power to investigate local prosecutors, and that the subpoena violates state sovereignty, and is politically motivated.

In the lawsuit against Jordan, Bragg says he wants the court to invalidate the subpoena issued to Pomerantz, and is also asking the court to prevent any future subpoenas on him or any of his current or former employees.

Jordan responded to the lawsuit in a tweet, saying Trump was indicted "for no crime" and that Bragg is trying to block congressional oversight.

While the lawsuit will move forward in a federal court in Manhattan, Jordan has already announced the committee's next step: the House Judiciary Committee will hold a "field hearing" Monday in New York, featuring people they're calling "victims" of Bragg's policies. The hearing will take place a short distance from both Bragg's office and the courthouse where Trump was arraigned.

A spokesperson for Bragg's office called the hearing a "political stunt."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ilya Marritz
Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.