Judiciary Republicans zero in on top prosecutor in Trump hush money case

Judiciary Republicans zero in on top prosecutor in Trump hush money case

The House Judiciary Committee is again singling out a top prosecutor in former President Trump’s hush money case, asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to turn over the bulk of its communications relating to Matthew Colangelo.

Colangelo, who delivered the opening statement in Trump’s New York trial last week, was a senior Justice Department official in the Biden administration before joining the Manhattan district attorney’s office in December 2022.

Colangelo has been a target of the panel since April of last year, when Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked him to turn over all documents and communications relating to his hiring by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D).

But his prominence in the first of Trump’s four criminal cases to go to trial has reignited interest in the prosecutor.

That includes from Trump himself, who took to social media to label Colangelo a “top Democrat DOJ official.” Under Trump’s gag order, he can no longer single out Colangelo or other line prosecutors.

Tuesday’s letter to the Justice Department asks it to turn over much of the same information Judiciary has already sought from Bragg, asking for all communications between the two offices dealing with Trump or any of his businesses, including any sent by Colangelo.

Jordan also asks for Colangelo’s personnel files, including those related to his hiring and departure from DOJ.

Finally, the letter asks for all Justice Department files related to its prosecutions of Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer. Cohen will be a star witness in the hush money trial, which centers on how the two worked together to conceal payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

Jordan writes that Colangelo’s “recent employment history demonstrates his obsession with investigating a person rather than prosecuting a crime.”

Colangelo’s resume does include significant experience in recent years working on cases that involve Trump.

While working at the New York attorney general’s office, Colangelo was part of a team that sued Trump’s charitable organization in 2018, proving it was improperly using funds, which led to its dismantling.

And during the tail end of the Trump administration, he was involved in the office’s probe into the Trump Organization itself. That probe would later serve as the basis for New York Attorney General Letitia James’s (D) fraud suit, which this year resulted in a $450 million penalty for Trump.

Colangelo left James’s office for a high-ranking posting at the DOJ, but he returned to New York two years later to join Bragg’s team.

Jordan asked for information on Bragg’s case against Trump before it had even been filed, something the prosecutor called “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.”

Bragg later sued Jordan, calling the effort a “transparent campaign to intimidate and attack” his office’s work. The suit fought a subpoena to a former prosecutor on the case, however a judge later ruled in Jordan’s favor in ordering the prosecutor to comply with the subpoena.

“Congress has no power to supervise state criminal prosecutions. Nor does Congress have the power to serve subpoenas ‘for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to punish those investigated,’” Bragg’s office wrote in the lawsuit.

Zach Schonfeld contributed.

Updated at 4:34 p.m. ET

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