Appeals Court Grants Bragg’s Request to Temporarily Freeze House Subpeona

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on April 20 issued a temporary administrative hold on the return date of the House Judiciary Committee’s congressional subpoena to Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.

Pomerantz investigated former President Donald Trump’s finances before leaving Bragg’s office in February 2022 in protest of Bragg’s initial unwillingness to bring an indictment against Trump. Bragg then brought the indictment against Trump in late March, prompting Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, to initiate a probe into what Jordan calls a “politically motivated” prosecution against a former president. Jordan subpoenaed Pomerantz to seek his testimony. In response, Bragg sued the House Judiciary Committee and Pomerantz to prevent Pomerantz from testifying.

The appeals court’s April 20 order temporarily froze a lower court’s ruling on April 19 that declined Bragg’s request to block Pomerantz from testifying to Congress. It delays Pomerantz’s testimony until the appeals court decides whether the subpoena should be put on hold permanently or the lower court’s decision reversed.

The court indicated that the order doesn’t reflect its opinion of the merit of Bragg’s case but is only a temporary hold to allow it to review Bragg’s application. The court instructed the parties to complete court filings on a permanent stay on the ruling.

It came as the latest development in the legal clash between House Judiciary Committee lawmakers, which centers on the question of whether Congress has the authority to become involved in the Manhattan DA’s prosecution of a former president.

District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee, ordered on April 19 that the congressional panel has the authority to become involved in the investigation of Trump because it has legitimate legislative interests.

The lower court’s order, a victory for the Judiciary Committee’s lawmakers, came after an hour-long verbal clash between Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., counsel for Bragg, and House general counsel Matthew Berry in the Southern District Court of New York.

In her order, Vyskocil ruled in favor of the congressional lawmakers, affirming their stance that the subpoena they issued on Pomerantz serves legitimate legislative purposes and is thus protected from lawsuits by the speech and debate clause of the U.S. Constitution. That clause protects federal legislators from lawsuits for actions that serve a valid legislative purpose.

“It is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how it should conduct its deliberations in that connection,” the judge wrote in her ruling. “Mr. Pomerantz must appear for the congressional deposition.

“No one is above the law.”

Vyskocil agreed with the House Judiciary Committee’s argument that Congress has a legislative interest because House lawmakers introduced legislation that Pomerantz

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