▶ Watch Video: Manhattan DA sues Rep. Jim Jordan over subpoena of former investigator

Attorneys for the House Judiciary Committee and its chairman, GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, fired back Monday at a federal lawsuit filed by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is trying to halt a congressional subpoena of an ex-prosecutor who was involved in the investigation of former President Donald Trump.

In a 35-page filing, attorneys for Jordan said Bragg’s lawsuit should be dismissed. They argued the suit violates the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which can protect members of Congress from some litigation related to legislative activity. Jordan and the Judiciary Committee launched an investigation of Bragg’s office in the weeks before Trump was indicted on March 30.

The committee subpoenaed former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz on April 6, seeking his testimony as part of an investigation designed to inform future legislation that would “insulate current and former Presidents from such politically motivated state and local prosecutions,” as the committee put it. 

“There can be no question that the subpoena to Pomerantz was issued in furtherance of the Committee’s investigation,” they wrote in Monday’s filing. Pomerantz led the Manhattan investigation into Trump for about a year before resigning in February 2022, weeks after Bragg took office, and writing a memoir about the case.

A spokesperson for Bragg did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

The filing is the latest development in a series of escalating salvos between the committee and Manhattan prosecutors. It was made minutes before the committee began an unusual “field hearing” in New York, a block away from where Trump was arrested on April 4. Jordan and committee Republicans sought to characterize Manhattan — where shootings and homicides were down in 2022, but other crimes saw increases — as beholden to violence under Bragg’s watch. Committee Democrats sought to refocus the hearing on gun violence elsewhere, pointing to higher murder rates in states such as Ohio, where Jordan is from.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan oversees a “field hearing” in Manhattan at the Javits Federal Building on violent crime in the city on April 17, 2023.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Bragg’s April 11 suit asks the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to block Jordan and the committee from enforcing the subpoena, claiming it was part of “brazen and unconstitutional attack by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation.” 

Pomerantz was named as a defendant in the suit so that he can continue to decline to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee, as advised by Bragg’s office, “without facing a risk of contempt proceedings,” according to a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

In his own filing Monday, Pomerantz questioned the subpoena, noting that he resigned more than a year before Trump’s arrest, and saying he was not involved in the decision to charge.

Pomerantz also said he’s in an “impossible position.”

“If I refuse to provide information to the Committee, I risk being held in contempt of Congress and referred to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution. If, on the other hand, I defy the District Attorney’s instructions and answer questions, I face possible legal or ethical consequences, including criminal prosecution,” Pomerantz wrote, asking the judge to issue an order directing him on how to proceed.

An initial hearing in the case is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.