An appeals court temporarily blocked congressional Republicans from questioning a former prosecutor with the Manhattan district attorney’s office, briefly pausing an order from a federal district judge.
The prosecutor, Mark F. Pomerantz, worked on the district attorney’s investigation into Donald J. Trump for about a year before resigning in 2022, and published a book about his experience. The office brought felony charges against Mr. Trump last month.
Shortly after the charges were unsealed, Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, subpoenaed Mr. Pomerantz, signaling that he intended to conduct oversight of the inquiry into Mr. Trump, his political ally.
The district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, sued Mr. Jordan in an attempt to stop the interview, but a federal judge in Manhattan, Mary Kay Vyskocil, on Wednesday declined to stop the closed-door questioning, which had been scheduled for Thursday. She said that Republicans on the committee had a constitutional right to question Mr. Pomerantz.
Mr. Bragg and Mr. Pomerantz both appealed the order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which late Wednesday granted a temporary stay of the questioning. The order draws out the question of whether Mr. Pomerantz will be compelled to sit for an interview under oath and delays the Republican attempts to impede Mr. Bragg.
His prosecutors continue to make their case against the former president, who they say orchestrated a cover-up of a hush-money payment to a porn star made in 2016.
The back-and-forth provides a preview of what will likely be a lengthy legal process, particularly if House Republicans seek to interview others involved with the investigation. A lawyer for Mr. Jordan, Matthew B. Berry, said in court on Wednesday that such a determination had not yet been made.
“We are proceeding in a very measured, modest way,” Mr. Berry said.
Judge Vyskocil, who was appointed by Mr. Trump in 2016, signaled skepticism on Wednesday about the district attorney’s power to block the questioning of Mr. Pomerantz, saying that if Congress had a valid legislative purpose in seeking his testimony, she had no authority to stop it.
A lawyer for Mr. Bragg, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., argued before Judge Vyskocil issued her order that it was “totally unprecedented for Congress to ever go after a local district attorney.”
“It is also unprecedented for a local district attorney to bring an indictment of a former president,” the judge responded.
The Second Circuit ordered Mr. Bragg and Mr. Pomerantz to file legal arguments on Friday and Mr. Jordan’s lawyers to file the following day. The question of whether Mr. Pomerantz will be questioned is likely to extend into at least next week.
“Mr. Pomerantz views the subpoena served on him by Congressman Jordan as an improper attempt to obstruct and impede the pending prosecution of former President Trump by District Attorney Bragg,” said a lawyer for Mr. Pomerantz, Ted Wells.
He added that Mr. Pomerantz was happy about the Second Circuit’s order and hoped that it would stop the interview altogether.
Mr. Boutrous declined to comment. Mr. Berry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kate Christobek contributed reporting.
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