Former Manhattan prosecutor Mark Pomerantz hit back at House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, after he was subpoenaed by Republicans in their probe of the criminal indictment of former President Donald Trump.
Pomerantz, who previously worked on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s probe into Trump’s business and alleged hush-money payments, appeared on Friday before a Judiciary subcommittee but refused to answer many questions about Trump’s 34 felony charges of falsifying business records. The charges are related to the ex-president’s role in hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Pomerantz declined to answer questions by citing the confidentiality of the ongoing case and invoking the Fifth Amendment right of self-incrimination, The New York Times reported. The former prosecutor stated that he had appeared before the subcommittee simply because he respects the rule of law.
“What I do not respect is the use of the committee’s subpoena power to compel me to participate in an act of political theater,” Pomerantz said. “We are gathered here because Donald Trump’s supporters would like to use these proceedings to attempt to obstruct and undermine the criminal case pending against him, and to harass, intimidate and discredit anyone who investigates or charges him.”
“While I am certain I broke no laws, I am not required to answer questions if my answers might be used against me in a criminal prosecution,” he said, adding: “It gives me no joy to invoke my legal rights, but I am glad that the law allows me not to cooperate with this performance of political theater.”
Last month, Jordan traveled to Manhattan to hold a hearing on violent crime, an ostensibly retaliatory move after Bragg charged Trump in connection to the hush money scheme.
Bragg’s office called the hearing a “political stunt,” arguing that if “Jordan truly cared about public safety, he could take a short drive to Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Akron, or Toledo in his home state, instead of using taxpayer dollars to travel hundreds of miles out of his way.”
Jordan also demanded that Bragg appear for the deposition. Bragg refused, citing pending litigation. A representative from Bragg’s office did, however, appear in court alongside Pomerantz, per the Times.
“The district attorney’s office is participating in today’s deposition and asserting our rights to oppose disclosure of confidential information protected by law,” the representative said in a statement.
Many Republicans saw Pomerantz’s appearance before the subcommittee as a partisan win but former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner argued that the hearing blew up in Jordan’s face.
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Kirschner, an MSNBC legal analyst, called out Jordan’s past refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas, as well as self-imposed hurdles the MAGA ally has created for himself in a video posted to YouTube.
“[Pomerantz] called out Jim Jordan for unlawfully defying a congressional subpoena, blowing off a congressional subpoena,” Kirschner said. “To be clear, that constitutes the crime of contempt of Congress. Yet now, the criminal is issuing subpoenas to others, expecting them to comply. I think that qualifies as irony, at a minimum.”
The former prosecutor noted that since Trump is under indictment, Pomerantz’s conduct is governed by a different set of rules than when he made public comments about the case. If Jordan actually wanted to get information from Pomerantz, Kirschner argued, he could go to court and pursue the claim that he does not have a right to plead the Fifth.
“Here’s the problem: Jim Jordan has been yelling, and screaming, and yammering about how this whole prosecution in New York against Donald Trump is a witch hunt, political retribution. Donald Trump committed no crimes. He doesn’t deserve to be prosecuted,” he continued. But rather than effectively making the case that prosecutors committed crimes by bringing charges against Trump, Kirschner added, Jordan has rendered himself unable to persuade the D.A.’s office staff in court to push back on Fifth Amendment pleas.
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