May 31, 2023

Mark F. Pomerantz, a former prosecutor who once helped lead an investigation into Donald J. Trump, appeared before the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee on Friday for a statement, but declined many of his questions about the prosecution of answer the former president. allegations of falsifying business documents.

Mr. Pomerantz cited the confidentiality of the pending case and invoked a series of privileges, including the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, to avoid answering the committee’s questions, according to an opening statement obtained by The New York Times. . He said he agreed to appear because he respected the rule of law.

“What I do not respect is the use of the committee’s power of subpoena to compel me to participate in an act of political theater,” added Mr. Pomeranian. “We are gathered here because Donald Trump’s supporters want to use this proceeding to attempt to obstruct and undermine the criminal case against him, and to harass, intimidate and discredit anyone investigating or accusing him.”

Mr. Pomerantz repeatedly cited New York law protecting the privacy of active investigations and said he had been threatened with possible prosecution for violating the confidentiality of the grand jury trial if he answered certain questions.

“While I am sure I have not broken any laws, I am under no obligation to answer questions if my answers could be used against me in a criminal prosecution,” he said, adding: “It gives me no joy to to invoke my legal rights, but I am glad that the law does not allow me to participate in this performance of political theater.”

Forcing Mr. Pomerantz’s appearance was a victory for Republicans who rushed to use their power in the House to defend Mr. Trump since it became clear that Manhattan district attorney Alvin L. Bragg was on the case. was about to indict the former president.

Mr. Bragg, who has resisted Republican efforts to interfere with his work, sued to try to get the Judiciary Committee — headed by Representative Jim Jordan, a Republican of Ohio and a close ally of Mr. Trump — to to stop Mr. Pomerantz from coercing witnesses. But that attempt failed.

A representative from Mr. Bragg’s appeared in Washington on Friday along with Mr. Pomerantz.

“The District Attorney’s Office participates in today’s statement and asserts our right to oppose disclosure of confidential information protected by law,” a spokeswoman for Mr. Bragg said in a statement.

A federal judge last month ruled that congressional Republicans on the Judiciary Committee had a constitutional right in their role as legislators to impeach Mr. to interrogate Pomerantz.

“It is not the role of the federal judiciary to dictate what legislation Congress may consider or how it should conduct its deliberations,” the judge wrote, adding, “Mr. Pomerantz must appear for congressional deposition. No one is above the law.”

The Judicial Commission quoted from that statement on Twitter on Friday as Mr. Pomerantz testified.

Mr Trump is being prosecuted in New York for his role in a hush money payment to an adult film entertainer, Stormy Daniels, who then agreed to keep quiet about her story of an affair with him.

The 34-count indictment charged him with falsifying business records related to the payment, which took place in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign and may have functioned as an illegal donation to his candidacy. He has pleaded not guilty.

Jonah E Bromwich reporting contributed.