March 2nd, 2020
A federal court on Monday ruled that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must sit for a deposition where she will be questioned on matters relating to her use of a private server during her time at the State Department.
The ruling from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia was issued in relation to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from conservative activist group Judicial Watch.
The Court had previously ordered discovery into three main areas: whether Clinton’s use of a private email server was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA; whether the State Department had previously attempted to settle the case in “bad faith”; whether the State Department had “adequately searched” for records pertinent to Judicial Watch’s request.
According to the order from Ronald Reagan-appointed U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, the case presented rare circumstances requiring further discovery.
“Although discovery in FOIA cases is rare, the Court again reminds the government that it was State’s mishandling of this case – which was either the result of bureaucratic incompetence or motivated by bad faith – that opened discovery in the first place,” Lamberth wrote. “Discovery up until this point has brought to light a noteworthy amount of relevant information, but Judicial Watch requests an additional round of discovery, and understandably so. With each passing round of discovery, the Court is left with more questions than answers.”
The order also stated that, during a Dec. 2019 status conference, Judicial Watch revealed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had recently produced “approximately thirty previously undisclosed Clinton emails,” and that “State failed to fully explain the new emails’ origins when the Court directly questioned where they came from.”
Judicial Watch contended that it is necessary to depose Secretary Clinton because of “significant questions pertaining to her state of mind” which only she can answer.
“The Court GRANTS Judicial Watch’s request to depose Secretary Clinton on matters concerning her reasons for using a private server and her understanding of State’s records management obligations,” Lamberth wrote.
The court denied Judicial Watch’s request to depose Clinton over other matters, however–specifically those relating to the Benghazi attacks.
The judge said “this round of discovery” must occur within the next 75 days unless the parties file for an extension.
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