Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who is prosecuting former President Donald Trump in a case related to hush-money payments made to an adult-film actress, has sued a Republican legislator probing his investigation.
In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Bragg accused Representative Jim Jordan, the chair of House Judiciary Committee, of a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” him after the New York district attorney indicted Trump on 34 felony charges of falsifying business documents.
The lawsuit — the latest salvo in a back-and-forth between the Democratic prosecutor and Republican legislators — asked a judge to invalidate subpoenas that Jordan has issued or plans to submit as part of a probe into Bragg’s handling of the case.
In the lawsuit, Bragg said he’s taking legal action “in response to an unprecedentedly brazen and unconstitutional attack by members of Congress on an ongoing New York State criminal prosecution and investigation of former President Donald J Trump”.
“Congress lacks any valid legislative purpose to engage in a free-ranging campaign of harassment in retaliation for the District Attorney’s investigation and prosecution of Mr Trump under the laws of New York,” the lawsuit said.
It added that Congress lacks constitutional authority “to oversee, let alone disrupt, ongoing state law criminal matters”.
The move came as Jordan, who was a close Trump ally during the former president’s time in office, has issued a flurry of letters and subpoenas to individuals involved in the case against Trump, who is the first president in US history to be criminally charged.
One subpoena seeks testimony from former prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who previously oversaw the Trump investigation. Pomerantz publicly detailed how he sparred with Bragg over the direction of the probe before leaving the office last year.
House Republicans had previously sent a letter to Bragg demanding he testify about what they called a “politically motivated prosecutorial decision”.
In response, Bragg accused Republicans of an “unlawful incursion” into his jurisdiction. His office has dismissed claims that its prosecution of Trump is politically motivated, calling such claims “unfounded”.
Trump and his allies, including Jordan, have continued to push the narrative that Bragg is a political operative who receives funding from liberal superdonor George Soros, a claim Soros has denied.
Jordan responded to Bragg’s lawsuit in a tweet on Tuesday.
“First, they indict a president for no crime,” he wrote. “Then they sue to block congressional oversight when we ask questions about the federal funds they say they used to do it.”
Last week, Trump appeared in court for the first time, where he was arraigned on charges related to a hush-money payment made to the adult-film performer Stormy Daniels through his lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen.
Daniels has said she had an affair with Trump before he was president.
While typically a misdemeanour under New York state law, falsifying business records rises to a felony if it is done with “intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof”.
In a news conference following the arraignment, Bragg said Trump violated both state and federal election laws, and also mischaracterised the payments to Cohen as being for “tax purposes”.
A statement of facts released alongside the indictment accused Trump of conducting “a scheme with others to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and benefit [Trump’s] electoral prospects”.
Prosecutors will have to prove Trump falsified the records in service to a secondary crime but will not need to prosecute that secondary crime.
Bragg is represented in Tuesday’s lawsuit against Jordan by Theodore Boutrous, a well-known First Amendment lawyer who has also represented Trump’s estranged niece, Mary Trump, in legal clashes with her famous uncle.
The case has been assigned to US District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil, a Trump appointee who previously served as a federal bankruptcy court judge.
The lawsuit came after the House Judiciary Committee on Monday announced plans hold a hearing in Manhattan on crime in New York City and what it has called Bragg’s “pro-crime, anti-victim” policies.
Bragg’s office, in response, pointed to statistics showing that violent crime in Manhattan has dropped since he took over the post in January 2022.
In a statement, Bragg called the hearing “a political stunt” and said that, if Jordan “truly cared about public safety”, he would focus on crime in cities in his home state of Ohio “instead of using taxpayer dollars to travel hundreds of miles out of his way”.