DA Bragg gives in, agrees to House Judiciary Committee deposition of former prosecutor if counsel is present

April 22, 2023
Ben Marquis

Democratic Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg had filed a lawsuit against House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) to block a subpoena for testimony from a former prosecutor in Bragg's office, Mark Pomerantz, but his request was denied by a federal district judge this week.

Bragg immediately appealed the decision to the 2nd Circuit but has now withdrawn that appeal after a settlement agreement was reached with the committee, Breitbart reported.

That means Pomerantz will now have to sit for a transcribed deposition with the committee next month, albeit with an attorney from Bragg's office present to object to any questioning that might violate privilege concerns.

The subpoena and the lawsuit

It was on April 6 that the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Pomerantz to testify about what he knew about DA Bragg's investigation and subsequent criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump in relation to a "hush money" payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016 to silence her about an alleged affair in 2006.

Pomerantz had famously resigned in protest in 2022 over Bragg's delays in moving forward with that case and proceeded to write a book and give multiple public interviews on the topic, which made him uniquely situated to answer the committee's questions about the case in relation to possible legislative reforms dealing with local prosecutors going after U.S. presidents and the use of federal funds.

Bragg filed suit to block that subpoena and argued that it served no valid legislative purpose and instead was only meant to interfere in his prosecution of Trump, but a federal district judge smacked Bragg down on Wednesday and ruled that Pomerantz must testify because, as Bragg had said with regard to Trump, "No one is above the law."

The progressive prosecutor then immediately appealed the matter to the 2nd Circuit and was granted a temporary stay on the district court's ruling ahead of a hearing next week before a three-judge panel, but now appears to have withdrawn that appeal as part of an agreement reached with the committee on the subpoenaed testimony of Pomerantz.

Settlement agreement announced

On Friday, a spokesman for Committee Chair Jordan said in a statement, "This evening, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office withdrew its appeal in Bragg v. Jordan. Mr. Pomerantz's deposition will go forward on May 12, and we look forward to his appearance."

Shortly thereafter, DA Bragg's office issued a statement of its own that said, "Our successful stay of this subpoena blocked the immediate deposition and afforded us the time necessary to coordinate with the House Judiciary Committee on an agreement that protects the District Attorney's privileges and interests."

"We are pleased with this resolution, which ensures any questioning of our former employee will take place in the presence of our General Counsel on a reasonable, agreed upon timeframe," the DA's office added. "We are gratified that the Second Circuit's ruling provided us with the opportunity to successfully resolve this dispute."

Agreement technically violates House rules but is nonetheless typical

Politico reported that House rules on depositions typically prohibit the participation of government attorneys but that the rule is also often ignored by committees in order to reach agreements to secure the testimony of reluctant or hostile witnesses.

Such agreements allow an attorney from a government office or agency to be present in order to make objections and defend the interests and privileges of the office or agency that might be encroached upon by the committee's questions.

DA Bragg's office might claim that this development was a success, but given that Bragg had set out to quash the subpoena and prevent the deposition of Pomerantz entirely, it is in reality a loss for him and a victory for Chairman Jordan and his committee's continuing investigation of Bragg's politically motivated prosecution of the former president.

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