• Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg agrees to congressional testimony

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg agrees to congressional testimony

NEW YORK (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg agreed Friday to testify before what’s likely to be a hostile, Republican-controlled congressional subcommittee, but likely not until after former President Donald Trump is sentenced in July.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, wrote Bragg in late May after Trump’s conviction in his hush money trial, accusing him of having conducted a “political prosecution” and requesting his testimony at a hearing June 13.

In a reply letter, the Manhattan district attorney’s general counsel, Leslie Dubeck, said the prosecutor’s office was “committed to voluntary cooperation.”

That cooperation, it added, included making Bragg, a Democrat, available to testify “at an agreed-upon date.” But the letter said the date picked by Jordan presented “presents various scheduling conflicts.”

It noted that the Trump prosecution is not yet finished. Trump, who was convicted of falsifying records to cover up hush money paid to a porn actor during the 2016 presidential campaign, is scheduled to be sentenced July 11. Before then, prosecutors will be making recommendations to a judge about what kind of punishment Trump deserves.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks to the media after a jury found former President Donald Trump guilty on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, Thursday, May 30, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“The trial court and reviewing appellate courts have issued numerous orders for the purpose of protecting the fair administration of justice in People v. Trump, and to participate in a public hearing at this time would be potentially detrimental to those efforts,” the letter said.

Bragg’s office asked for an opportunity to discuss an alternative date with the subcommittee and get more information about “the scope and purpose of the proposed hearing.”

Jordan has also asked for testimony from Matthew Colangelo, one of the lead prosecutors in the Trump case. Bragg’s office didn’t rule that out, but said in the letter that it would “evaluate the propriety” of allowing an assistant district attorney to testify publicly about an active prosecution.

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Jordan, an Ohio Republican, has proposed withholding federal funding from any entity that attempts to prosecute a former president. He has also railed against what he’s described as the “weaponization of the federal government.”

His committee successfully battled before to get a deposition from one former prosecutor who worked on Trump’s case, Mark Pomerantz, over Bragg’s initial objections. That deposition, however, yielded little, with Pomerantz declining to answer many questions on the grounds that doing so could potentially open him up to a criminal prosecution for disclosing secret grand jury testimony.

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