Manhattan DA’s office reprimands House GOP for ‘interference’ in Trump case

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg leaves his office in New York on 30 March 2023 (AFP via Getty Images)

The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has defended the decision to indict Donald Trump over hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.

A letter sent on Friday to Republican lawmakers from General Counsel Leslie Dubeck rejected the “baseless and inflammatory allegations that [the] investigation is politically motivated”.

“That conclusion is misleading and meritless,” the six-page letter to three House Republican committee chairs continues.

The indictment, which remains sealed in advance of Tuesday’s court date, sparked a slew of attacks on the Manhattan DA from allies of the former president — many calling it a political witch hunt, echoing the language of Mr Trump.

The letter to Jim Jordan, chair of the House judiciary committee; Bryan Steil, chair of the House administration committee; and James Comer, chair of the House oversight and accountability committee, came as a repsonse to those allegations.

“Like any other defendant, Mr Trump is entitled to challenge these charges in court and avail himself of all processes and protections that New York State’s robust criminal procedure affords. What neither Mr Trump nor Congress may do is interfere with the ordinary course of proceedings in New York State,” the letter states.

The letter also pleads with the lawmakers for calm while accusing them of engaging in “unlawful political interference”, referring to their own letters to Mr Bragg’s office demanding information on the case.

“We urge you to refrain from these inflammatory accusations, withdraw your demand for information, and let the criminal justice process proceed without unlawful political interference,” the letter reads.

“As Committee Chairmen, you could use the stature of your office to denounce these attacks and urge respect for the fairness of our justice system and for the work of the impartial grand jury,” Ms Dubeck writes.

“Instead, you and many of your colleagues have chosen to collaborate with Mr Trump’s efforts to vilify and denigrate the integrity of elected state prosecutors and trial judges and made unfounded allegations that the office’s investigation, conducted via an independent grand jury of average citizens serving New York State, is politically motivated.”

Ms Dubeck also addressed the issue of the use of federal funding in the investigation. She noted this amounted to approximately $5,000 and that was money the office helped recover during forfeiture actions.

House Republicans have threatened — and are supposedly preparing — a subpoena of Mr Bragg, to answer their questions. He has already rejected a request for documents.

In the letter, Ms Dubeck urged them to reach a “negotiated resolution … before taking the unprecedented and unconstitutional step of serving a subpoena on a district attorney for information related to an ongoing state criminal prosecution.”

The trio of GOP lawmakers has previously said the House of Representatives could soon take up legislation to strip state and local prosecutors of the authority to prosecute former presidents.