A federal court ruled on Tuesday that a watchdog group could request testimony from Hillary Clinton’s State Department aides in connection with her private email server, a decision that could eventually lead to a subpoena for Hillary Clinton.
D.C. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan granted a motion for discovery filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that is suing the U.S. State Department for records related to Clinton’s time as secretary of state.
Judicial Watch is seeking information about whether Clinton and her aides intentionally dodged public records laws by using a private email server. The organization said it would ask to depose former State Department officials as part of the discovery process.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, called the judge’s decision "a major victory for the public’s right to know the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email system." He also said it may eventually be necessary for Clinton to testify.
"Our proposed discovery, which will require court approval, will include testimony of current and former officials of the State Department," said Fitton. "While Mrs. Clinton’s testimony may not be required initially, it may happen that her testimony is necessary for the Court to resolve the legal issues about her unprecedented email practices."
Judicial Watch successfully sued the State Department in September 2013 for records about the special employment arrangement for Clinton aide Huma Abedin at the State Department. But the case was reopened last March after it was revealed that Clinton used a private email server during her time at the State Department. Many of Clinton’s emails had not previously been turned over to the State Department, shielding them from public records requests.
Judicial Watch said in its motion for discovery that it would seek to question a number of State Department officials, including Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s personal IT staffer Bryan Pagliano, and Abedin.
Judge Sullivan asked Judicial Watch to submit its plan for discovery by March 5, which would be subject to approval by the court after April 15.