Court Battles

Bragg warns GOP effort to oversee ongoing Trump case is ‘dangerous usurpation’

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) warned Republican lawmakers on Friday that their efforts to conduct oversight into his investigation of former President Trump represents a “dangerous usurpation” by Congress that could impinge upon the former president’s rights.

The response from Bragg’s office comes the morning after a grand jury he empaneled to hear evidence voted to indict Trump in connection with efforts to hide a hush money payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels by couching them as legal payments.

A trio of Republican House chairmen, led by House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), gave Bragg until Friday to comply with a demand to turn over documents related to his investigation.

Bragg’s office again rebuffed the chairmen in a second letter, noting that a jury found probable cause to initiate the charges for Trump and laying out his full rights in the upcoming trial.

“What neither Mr. Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State,” Leslie Dubeck, general counsel for Bragg’s office, wrote in the letter.

The letter is the fourth in a back-and-forth between Bragg and the lawmakers, who demanded all the documents in the case as well as any communications Bragg’s office has had about it.

The GOP leaders contended the probe was politically motivated — a point Bragg has repeatedly contested.

“Your second letter asserts that, by failing to provide it, the District Attorney somehow failed to dispute your baseless and inflammatory allegations that our investigation is politically motivated. That conclusion is misleading and meritless,” Dubeck wrote.

“We did not engage in a point-by-point rebuttal of your letter because our Office is legally constrained in how it publicly discusses pending criminal proceedings, as prosecutorial offices are across the country and as you well know. That secrecy is critical to protecting the privacy of the target of any criminal investigation as well as the integrity of the independent grand jury’s proceedings.”

Bragg’s office reiterated a willingness to meet but this time asked lawmakers to supply them with a list of questions and documents they could discuss “without violating New York grand jury secrecy rules or interfering with the criminal case now before a court.”

The letter attacks another GOP argument seeking to justify their intervention, with the lawmakers in their original March 20 letter saying they were weighing “potential legislative reforms.”

Again, Bragg’s office questioned the intent of GOP plans.

“We doubt that Congress would have authority to place a single private citizen — including a former president or candidate for president — above the law or to grant him unique protections, such as removal to federal court, that are unavailable to every other criminal defendant,” Dubeck wrote.

“Even if you were seriously considering such legislation and had the constitutional authority to enact it (which you do not), your request for information from the District Attorney and his former attorneys concerning an ongoing criminal probe is unnecessary and unjustified. Congress has many sources from which it could seek information on the wisdom of this legislation, including from former federal or state prosecutors not involved in this pending matter.”

Tags Alvin Bragg Alvin Bragg Donald Trump Donald Trump

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