Pure Gold: Judge Delivers Bragg a Serious Smackdown in Denying His Order

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

Last week, Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg brought a 50-page complaint against the House Judiciary Committee, its Chair, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Mark Pomerantz, one of the former assistant district attorneys in his office. He also filed a motion seeking to enjoin the House and Jordan from enforcing a subpoena against Pomerantz and enjoining Pomerantz from complying with it.

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Sure sounds like Bragg is desperate not to have them speak with Pomerantz, who can offer them a lot of insight into the evolution and possibly the political nature of the effort against former President Donald Trump.

As I reported last week, the judge in the matter. U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, declined Bragg’s request. As I observed at the time, the judge noted that Bragg didn’t even provide documents he should have to support his cause, including that “subpoena purportedly served on Mr. Pomerantz” as well as the “Declaration of Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.,” which is mentioned in Bragg’s moving papers.

But if the judge chided him last week, noting the things that he didn’t file, she truly gave him a smackdown in the order that she entered on Wednesday. I’ve included some fun comments from Prof. Margot Cleveland.

The first 35 pages of the Complaint have little to do with the subpoena at issue and are nothing short of a public relations tirade against former President and current presidential candidate Donald Trump. The same is true of the vast majority of the exhibits accompanying the Boutrous Declaration. Of note, the Complaint acknowledges that DANY used federal forfeiture funds in investigating President Trump and/or the Trump Organization… At heart, the Complaint simply includes two requests for declaratory and injunctive relief directed at the congressional inquiry. The reality is that, as framed, this action is merely a motion to quash a subpoena dressed up as a lawsuit.

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The judge points out that Bragg is even making the filing political in his effort against Trump. Plus, Bragg is admitting the use of the federal forfeiture funds to investigate Trump. That supports the GOP’s case to have a nexus to look into Bragg’s actions.

The judge notes that the motion for a temporary restraining order was filed without notice to the Defendants (House, Jordan) and before the Defendants even were served with the Complaint, which was why she previously declined the request and set a briefing schedule.

While the judge had scheduled a reply brief to the motion for the Defendants, Bragg filed a reply brief with a lot of nonsense in it on the eve of the hearing on Wednesday and the judge was not happy about it.

The judge also indicated that the court had been flooded with several “unsolicited amicus briefs” from a variety of folks trying to argue in support of Bragg.

The judge said that it was Bragg who was “engaging in precisely the type of political theater he claims to fear.”

He tried to bring up an issue that he didn’t bring up in his initial filings in the unauthorized reply brief. (Click on tweet to enlarge.)

Bragg claimed he was concerned about grand jury secrecy (which Pomerantz wouldn’t have anything to do with since he wasn’t involved in this indictment against Trump). The judge just dispatches him with a killer footnote, noting that there were leaks out of Bragg’s grand jury, which was how we all came to know about the 34 charges before the indictment was unsealed.

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Now, Bragg and Pomerantz are going to claim privilege if Pomerantz is asked about his discussions with Bragg about the Trump matter. But as the judge notes, that’s a qualified protection. They may already have blown that because he wrote a book about it, and Bragg didn’t object to the book.

So the judge said they better get around to scheduling Pomerantz’s deposition. She also notes that if Bragg wants to try to avoid any other subpoenas in the matter or any other issues regarding Pomerantz, she’s going to be deciding on them, so he can’t try to file them under a different index number to try to avoid her review. That’s anticipating what a slimy worm Bragg is and it’s just gold.

The judge found for the House and Jordan, and against Bragg. The best line was the last.

The subpoena was issued with a “valid legislative purpose” in connection with the “broad” and “indispensable” congressional power to “conduct investigations.” 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. Mr. Pomerantz must appear for the congressional deposition. No one is above the law.

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How good is that?

Bragg is already trying to wiggle out of the decision and has filed an appeal. He must have known he was up a creek without a paddle on this one.

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