Attorneys for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and House Republicans meet Wednesday over allegations of intimidation

New York (CNN) Attorneys for House Republicans and the Manhattan district attorney’s office will go before a federal judge on Wednesday over a subpoena seeking impeachment testimony against former President Donald Trump.

Last week, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, sued Jim Jordan, chairman of the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, to block a congressional subpoena for a former prosecutor, alleging that lawmakers are engaged in “a transparent campaign of intimidation and attack “the prosecutor’s office.

Bragg asked the judge for a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to block that subpoena and any future subpoenas to him or other current or former prosecutors.

The lawsuit followed weeks of heated talks between Jordan and Bragg leading up to and after Trump was indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, allegedly to cover up a secret payment to the movie actress for adults Stormi Daniels to stop her from going public about an alleged affair a decade ago. Trump has denied the affair and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The standoff between federal and state authorities began in March, when Jordan asked Bragg’s office for documents and communications after news organizations reported that Bragg’s office was moving closer to trying to indict Trump. Jordan called it “an unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority.” Bragg’s office alleged that a Trump lawyer worked behind the scenes to enlist help from congressional allies and called Jordan’s investigation into the ongoing criminal investigation unconstitutional and “unprecedented domestic prosecutorial investigation.”

Bragg’s lawsuit described Jordan’s efforts as “a direct threat to the federalism and sovereign interests of New York State.”

Lawyers for Jordan and the committee said they were immune from the civil suit under the U.S. Constitution’s Speech and Debate Clause, which protects lawmakers from being sued for actions stemming from their legislative actions. They also argue the subpoena is valid as they seek information to craft potential legislation that would protect a president from politically motivated state and local prosecutions and allow them to move criminal cases to federal courts.

In a proposed response filed with the court, Bragg argued that constitutional immunity presupposes that the actions are part of legitimate legislative activity, which he argues the subpoena is not.

“Immunity from speech or debate is not a license for Congress to ignore the very separation of powers that the clause seeks to secure,” he wrote.

The former prosecutor who received the subpoena, Mark Pomerantz, is a defendant in the case on a technicality. Pomeranz wrote a book about the investigation after resigning.

Pomeranz joined Bragg in asking the judge to block the subpoena for his testimony, saying he was not involved in the decision to seek an indictment against Trump because he resigned more than a year before the indictment was returned.

Jordan set a Thursday deadline for Pomeranz to testify before the committee, but given the litigation, it’s unclear whether the deadline is enforceable.

The parties will appear before Judge Mary Kay Viskocil, who was appointed to the judgeship by Trump and confirmed by the Senate in a 91-3 vote in 2019.

Before Viscocil was confirmed as a U.S. District Court judge, she was appointed as a federal bankruptcy judge in 2016 by the Judicial Council of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to that, Vyskocil was a litigator who worked primarily on insurance litigation during a 33-year career at the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. She attended Blauvelt Dominican College and earned a law degree from St. John’s University.

The judge had a landmark ruling in September 2020 when he dismissed a defamation lawsuit former Playboy model Karen McDougal brought against Fox News, claiming she was defamed by host Tucker Carlson when he suggested she blackmailed Trump when she received a $150,000 payment from American Media, publisher of the National Enquirer, for her life story, which included allegations of a long affair with Trump. AMI never published the article and says McDougall was paid to write health and fitness columns.

The judge ruled: “The context in which the offending statements were made here makes it abundantly clear that Mr. Carlson did not accuse Ms. McDougall of actually committing a crime. As a result, his statements are not subject to prosecution.”

“But there can be no doubt that Mr. Carlson did so as hyperbole to encourage debate on a matter of public interest,” the judge wrote.

Prosecutors have not charged Trump with crimes related to AMI’s deal to buy and bury McDougal’s story, but included it in a statement of facts accompanying the indictment as part of a “catch and kill scheme” to suppress negative stories before the 2016 presidential election.

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