The former top deputy of the Manhattan district attorney prosecuting former President Donald Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights at his deposition before the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee.
Scorching the committee’s chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, ex-Assistant District Attorney Mark Pomerantz flatly declared in his opening remarks: “This deposition is for show,” later labeling it “political theater” and “cynical histrionics.”
“I do not believe for a moment that I am here to assist a genuine effort to enact legislation or conduct legislative ‘oversight,”” Pomerantz said in a three-page statement. “We are gathered here because Donald Trump’s supporters would like to use these proceedings to attempt to obstruct and undermine the criminal case pending against him, and to harass, intimidate, and discredit anyone who investigates or charges him.”
Jordan, a Trump loyalist from Ohio, says he’s investigating whether Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of the former president is politically motivated. In early 2022, Pomerantz and his then-colleague Carey Dunne resigned from the probe, believing that Bragg was too reluctant to charge Trump with tax crimes. Dunne faded to the sidelines, but Pomerantz went on to write a tell-all memoir of his time inside the DA’s office titled “People v. Trump,” named at the time for the case that wasn’t.
Bragg resisted any attempts by the Judiciary Committee to scrutinize his office, but Jordan latched onto Pomerantz’s book as a waiver of confidentiality.
In April, U.S. District Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil — a Trump appointee — agreed, ordering Pomerantz to the hot seat. Pomerantz argued that circumstances changed between the time he wrote that book and Trump’s indictment.
“Although I have written and spoken publicly about the Trump investigation, I did so before any criminal charges were brought against Mr. Trump,” Pomerantz wrote in his statement. “Now that a grand jury has indicted him, the circumstances have changed. With formal charges now pending, the rule of law is best served if the merits of the case against Mr. Trump are litigated before the court that is hearing that case.”
When he resigned from the DA’s office, Pomerantz believed that Bragg could have filed fraud charges against Trump for over-inflating and deflating assets in connection with his eponymous company. The DA’s office prosecuted and convicted the Trump Organization and its former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg for tax crimes, and Pomerantz left his post when Bragg stopped short of charging the ex-president.
Instead, a year later, Bragg criminally charged Trump in connection with $130,000 in hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels. Trump’s ex-fixer Michael Cohen funneled that money from a home equity loan, funneled through a shell company, to Daniels’ then-attorney. Trump and his company then paid Cohen back $420,000, in monthly increments of $35,000.
Prosecutors allege that those transfers, and their documentation, repeatedly violated New York law related to falsifying business records: 34 times.
Bragg and Pomerantz now view the House GOP’s actions as attempted interference with the judicial process.
“The charges against Mr. Trump should be heard and decided by a judge and a jury before politicians second-guess their merits or the decision to bring them,” Pomerantz wrote. “That’s how our system works. Those who claim that they respect the rule of law should wait for the courts to do their work.”
In April, Bragg’s attorneys told Judge Vyskocil that violating grand jury secrecy could expose Pomerantz to criminal charges, and Pomerantz said her ruling puts him in a Catch-22. Refusing to cooperate with the Judiciary Committee could expose him to possible contempt, and providing information to it could run afoul of grand jury secrecy laws. He resolved to assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
“For all these reasons, I will not be answering questions that relate to my work in the DA’s office, my book, or public statements I have made in the past,” Pomerantz said. “It gives me no joy to invoke my legal rights, but I am glad that the law allows me not to cooperate with this performance of political theater.”
Jordan’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read Pomerantz’s statement here.
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Mark Pomerantz scorches Jim Jordan subpoena, pleads Fifth
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