A federal judge has denied Alvin Bragg‘s motion to block a subpoena issued by House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan to a former top prosecutor who resigned after the Manhattan District Attorney appeared to shutter his investigation into Donald Trump.
U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, appointed by then-President Donald Trump, rejected DA Bragg’s request that Mark Pomerantz not be required to testify. Pomerantz is one of two now-former prosecutors hired by Bragg’s predecessor, Cy Vance, to investigate what appear to be questionable if not unlawful aspects of Trump’s finances, including the massive fluctuations in the stated valuations of his properties.
That investigation, under Bragg, is focused on Trump’s hush money payoff to Stormy Daniels and his possibly unlawful claims the payments were for legal expenses. Trump was indicted on 34 felony violations.
“The request by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. for a temporary restraining order, enjoining enforcement of the subpoena issued to Mark F. Pomerantz by the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives, chaired by Congressman Jim Jordan, is DENIED,” Judge Vyskocil’s order reads, which Law & Crime’s Adam Klasfeld posted. “The subpoena was issued with a ‘valid legislative purpose’ in connection with the ‘broad’ and ‘indispensable’ congressional power to ‘conduct investigations.’ It is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how it should conduct its deliberations in that connection.”
“Mr. Pomerantz must appear for the congressional deposition,” Vyskocil determined.
“No one is above the law,” she snarked, a sentence Klasfeld pointed to, and called “Notable.”
“Here,” he writes, “she deploys the phrase often used on the former president against Bragg’s ex-deputy Mark Pomerantz.”
Author and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Zirin, responding to CNN’s report of Judge Vyskocil’s ruling writes, “I predicted this.”
“Vyskocil is New York’s Judge Cannon. Note the snide riposte: ‘No one is above the law.'”
Zirin was referring to the discredited Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon, who appeared to be protecting the ex-president from the bench.
Judge Vyskocil added, “In our federalist system, elected state and federal actors sometimes engage in political dogfights. Bragg complains of political interference in the local DANY case, but Bragg does not operate outside of the political arena. Bragg is presumptively acting in good faith. That said, he is an elected prosecutor in New York County with constituents, some of whom wish to see Bragg wield the force of law against the former President and a current candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. Jordan, in turn, has initiated a political response to what he and some of his constituents view as a manifest abuse of power and nakedly political prosecution, funded (in part) with federal money, that has the potential to interfere with the exercise of presidential duties and with an upcoming federal election.”
“The Court does not endorse either side’s agenda,” Vyskocil says. “The sole question before the Court at this time is whether Bragg has a legal basis to quash a congressional subpoena that was issued with a valid legislative purpose. He does not.”
In discussing Jordan’s targeting of DA Bragg and his use of his Judiciary Committee to do so, former U.S Attorney Barb McQuade on MSNBC Wednesday called it “an absolute abuse of power.”
Read a portion of the order below or at this link.
“No one is above the law,” Judge Vyskocil — a Trump appointee — writes at the end the opening paragraph.
Here, she deploys the phrase often used on the former president against Bragg’s ex-deputy Mark Pomerantz. 🔽 https://t.co/UZinAmwXhA
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) April 19, 2023
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
House Votes to Boot George Santos 311-114
Representative George Santos (R-NY) has been expelled from Congress following a 311-114 vote; two House members voted “present.”
The expulsion of Santos follows a debate on his fate on Thursday. The vote required a two-thirds majority, or 290 of the 435-seat chamber. This is Santos’ third vote of expulsion; last month, a vote failed with 31 Democrats voting against, according to The Hill.
While the vote was decisive, some notable Republicans voted to save Santos, including House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).
“We’ve not whipped the vote and we wouldn’t,” Johnson told CNN Wednesday. “I trust that people will make that decision thoughtfully and in good faith. I personally have real reservations about doing this, I’m concerned about a precedent that may be set for that.”
Santos himself had harsh words for the House following the vote. Leaving the capitol building, he briefly spoke with reporters.
“The House spoke that’s their vote. They just set new dangerous precedent for themselves,” he told CNN. “Why would I want to stay here? To hell with this place.”
He then cut his time short, telling reporters, “You know what? As unofficially no longer a member of Congress, I no longer have to answer your questions.”
Santos also faces 23 federal charges, which include fraud, money laundering and misuse of campaign funds, according to CNN. He has pleaded not guilty. An Ethics Committee report found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for Botox and even an OnlyFans account.
On Thursday, Santos said he refused to resign because otherwise, “they win.”
“If I leave the bullies take place. This is bullying,” Santos said. “The reality of it is it’s all theater, theater for the cameras and theater for the microphones. Theater for the American people at the expense of the American people because no real work’s getting done.”
Santos also threatened to file a resolution to expel Representative Jamaal Bowman (D-NY). Bowman pulled a fire alarm in September. Bowman pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and said it was an accident. He said he thought the fire alarm would open a locked door as he rushed to a vote. Bowman paid a $1,000 fine.
There have only been six total expulsions from the House, including Santos. Santos is the only Republican to ever be expelled from the House.
The previous expulsion was in 2002, when Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after a 420-1 vote. Traficant had been convicted on 10 counts of corruption-related crimes.
Before Traficant, Representative Michael “Ozzie” Myers (D-PA) was the first representative of the modern era to be expelled. Myers got the boot following his conviction for accepting bribes. Myers couldn’t keep out of trouble; in 2022, he was convicted and sentenced to 30 months in prison on charges of election fraud.
Prior to Myers, the only expulsions from the House were in 1861, at the start of the Civil War. Henry Cornelius Burnett (D-KY), John William Reid (D-MO) and John Bullock Clark (Whig-MO) were all expelled for joining the Confederacy.
Peter Navarro, Former Top Trump White House Advisor, Guilty of Criminal Contempt
Peter Navarro, the controversial economist and former top Trump White House advisor, was found guilty by a jury on two counts of criminal contempt of Congress Thursday afternoon after a short trial that began on Tuesday.
Navarro refused to comply with a congressional subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack.
Legal experts had predicted a “quick conviction” after Navarro, called a “conspiracy theorist” who promotes “fringe” economic theories, had called no witnesses. The jury deliberated for under five hours. He faces up to two years in prison.
“The defendant chose allegiance to former President Trump over compliance with a subpoena,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Aloi told the jury Thursday, as Politico reported. “The defendant chose defiance.”
“Our government only works when people play by the rules and it only works when people are held accountable when they do not,” Aloi also said, during closing arguments. “When a person intentionally and deliberately chooses to defy a congressional subpoena, that is a crime.”
Politico reported earlier that “ Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation.”
“There’s no mistake, no accident,” prosecutor John Crabb told jurors, NBC News adds.
“That man thinks he’s above the law,” Crabb said. “In this country, nobody is above the law.”
‘Look for a Quick Conviction Here’: Navarro Jury Could Reach a Verdict ‘Early This Afternoon’
Peter Navarro‘s criminal contempt of Congress trial is moving quickly and the jury may come to a verdict as early as this afternoon, court watchers say.
Navarro, who has been called a “conspiracy theorist” who holds “fringe” and “oddball” economic views, is a former top Trump White House aide. He advanced “Big Lie” election fraud claims and refused to comply with a February, 2022 subpoena issued by the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. He was criminally indicted in June of 2022 by a federal grand jury.
The trial began Tuesday in D.C. federal court.
Just before 11 AM Thursday the case was handed to the jury, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports.
“Given the brevity of the case, a verdict is highly likely in the next few hours,” Cheney adds, noting: “If convicted, he faces up to one year on each of two counts — one for refusing to testify, one for refusing to provide docs.”
“Navarro has long claimed that Trump told him to defy the committee’s Feb. 9, 2022 subpoena and assert executive privilege, a demand he said conferred immunity from having to cooperate with Congress’ investigation,” Politico reports. “For months, U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta wrestled with intricate questions about how executive privilege might apply to a former adviser to a former president, whether Navarro’s belief that Trump had invoked the privilege constituted a defense to the charges and how the Justice Department’s decision to charge him compares with its longstanding views of immunity for some senior executive branch officials from compelled congressional testimony.”
Wednesday evening, former top DOJ official Harry Litman noted, “Peter Navarro evidence already done, closing arguments tomorrow. Basically, it’s an incredibly simple case — he knew he had to comply with the subpoena, and he still thumbed his nose at it.”
Adding the the government called three witness but “Navarro called nobody,” Litman predicted: “Look for a quick conviction here.”
- News3 days ago
Jobs Report Forces Fox News to Admit Biden Economy ‘A Lot Stronger Than Anybody Understands’
- News3 days ago
Right Wing Evangelicals Are ‘Marinating’ in ‘Information Aimed at Making Them Fearful, Hostile’: Journalist
- News2 days ago
‘They’re Coming After Our Children’: Watch Casey DeSantis’ Dystopian Fear-Mongering Ad
- News3 days ago
Peter Doocy Admits No ‘Concrete Evidence Joe Biden Personally Profited’ From Hunter’s Business
- News2 days ago
‘Significant and Imminent Threat’: Trump Gag Order Largely Upheld by Appeals Court