Bragg and Colangelo will appear before Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has agreed to testify before Congress on July 12, a day after former President Donald Trump’s sentencing in his hush money trial.

A spokesperson for Bragg’s office confirmed Tuesday that he will appear before the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government alongside Matthew Colangelo, the former high-ranking Justice Department official who was hired by Bragg in 2022 and helped lead the Trump investigation.

Bragg and Colangelo will face what’s likely to be a hostile, Republican-controlled hearing where the chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio has accused both men of conducting a “political prosecution” in the case against the former president. It will mark the latest effort by Trump’s closest allies in Congress to discredit the recent 34-count conviction by going after local and federal prosecutors who have charged him.

“It undermines the rule of law to spread dangerous misinformation, baseless claims, and conspiracy theories following the jury’s return of a full-count felony conviction in People v. Trump,” a spokesperson for the Manhattan DA’s office said. “Nonetheless, we respect our government institutions and plan to appear voluntarily before the subcommittee after sentencing.”

Trump, the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, was convicted last month of falsifying records to cover up hush money paid to a porn actor during the 2016 presidential campaign and is scheduled to be sentenced on July 11. Before then, prosecutors will be making recommendations to a judge about what kind of punishment Trump deserves.

Bragg, a Democrat, sued Jordan last year, seeking to halt a House Judiciary Committee inquiry into Trump’s indictment. He later agreed to let the Republican-led committee question ex-prosecutor Mark Pomerantz, who once oversaw the investigation but left the job after clashing with Bragg over the direction of the case.

Soon after Trump’s April 2023 arraignment, Jordan took the Judiciary Committee on the road for a field hearing near Bragg’s offices to examine what he decried as the Democrat’s “pro-crime, anti-victim” policies. Democrats described the hearing and various efforts since by Republicans as a partisan stunt aimed at amplifying conservative anger at Bragg.

Jordan has proposed withholding federal funding from any entity that attempts to prosecute a former president. He has also railed against what he’s described as the “weaponization of the federal government.” Before Trump’s verdict last month, Jordan sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, demanding information about the Justice Department’s role in the local prosecution of the former president.

The Justice Department responded in a letter Tuesday, saying that while it does not “generally make extensive efforts to rebut conspiratorial speculation,” a review by the department of all communications from the start of the New York case in January 2021 until the verdict showed no contact between federal prosecutors and those involved in the hush money case.

“The District Attorney’s office is a separate entity from the Department. The Department does not supervise the work of the District Attorney’s office, does not approve its charging decisions, and does not try its cases,” Assistant Attorney General Carlos Uriarte said in the letter obtained by AP. “The Department has no control over the District Attorney, just as the District Attorney has no control over the Department.”

He added: “The Committee knows this.”

Bragg, a former civil rights lawyer and law professor, is in his first term as Manhattan’s district attorney. He inherited the Trump investigation when he took office in 2021. He oversaw the prosecution of Trump’s company in an unrelated tax fraud case before moving to indict Trump last year.

He and Colangelo previously worked together on Trump-related matters at the New York attorney general’s office. During the trial, Colangelo delivered the opening statement and questioned several witnesses including former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.


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