Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg filed a lawsuit against Rep. Jim Jordan that seeks to prevent the House Judiciary Committee’s efforts at interference in the prosecution of former President Donald Trump.
- For weeks, Jordan and other Republican committee leaders have been seeking testimony from Bragg and attorneys who were involved in the investigations into Trump. Recently, Jordan issued a subpoena to one of the attorneys, Mark Pomerantz.
- This week, Bragg sued Jordan, asking the court to block the Pomerantz subpoena and to preemptively block any other subpoenas Jordan may issue to Bragg’s Office. Bragg criticized Jordan’s efforts as “an unprecedently brazen and unconstitutional attack by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation.” The DA argues that the subpoena is an overreach of congressional authority, and he cites the Supreme Court’s ruling in Trump v. Mazars for the proposition that Congress’s subpoena power is not unlimited. Bragg also argues that he is legally required to keep grand jury materials confidential.
- In response to the lawsuit, Jordan tweeted, “First, they indict a president for no crime. Then, they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they say they used to do it.”
- For now, federal district court Judge Mark Kay Vyskocil rejected Bragg’s request to provisionally block the subpoena (the judge declined to impose a temporary restraining order) and set a hearing on the matter for next Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Trump asked a federal judge in New York to delay the trial in writer E. Jean Carroll’s battery and defamation lawsuit.
- Carroll alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her in the 1990s and that Trump made defamatory statements when he said that Carroll’s claims were “a Hoax and a lie” and that she was not his “type.” The trial is scheduled to start on April 25.
- This week, Trump’s legal team asked Judge Lewis Kaplan to delay the trial by four weeks. Trump’s lawyers wrote that he “can only receive a fair trial in a calmer media environment than the one created by the New York County district attorney.” “Holding the trial of this case a mere three weeks after these historic events will guarantee that many, if not most, prospective jurors will have the criminal allegations top of mind when judging President Trump’s defense against Ms. Carroll’s allegations,” the lawyers continued.
- For her part, Carroll has asked the judge to hold the trial as scheduled. Carroll’s attorneys wrote, “Trump’s mounting legal difficulties have given rise to substantial press coverage and will continue to do so; he is not only a former President, but also a declared candidate in the next presidential election. As a result, each passing week will offer Trump yet another straw to grasp at in his campaign to avoid standing trial for sexually assaulting Carroll.”
- In preparation for trial, Judge Kaplan recently ruled that the identities of the jurors will be kept anonymous to protect them from “unwanted media attention…influence attempts, and/or…harassment or worse…by supporters of Mr. Trump.” Kaplan also wrote that due to Trump’s recent public statements pertaining to the criminal investigations into his conduct, extra protections for the jurors were warranted. “[Trump’s] reaction reportedly has been perceived by some as incitement to violence. And it bears mention that Mr. Trump repeatedly has attacked courts, judges, various law enforcement officials and other public officials, and even individual jurors in other matters.”
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