A federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Tuesday that discovery should go forward over Hillary Clinton’s private, unsecured email system.
The Washington Post reported:
A federal judge on Tuesday ruled that State Department officials and top aides to Hillary Clinton should be questioned under oath about whether they intentionally thwarted federal open records laws by using or allowing the use of a private email server throughout Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The decision by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of Washington came in a lawsuit over public records brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, regarding its May 2013 request, for information about the employment arrangement of Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide. … Sullivan set an April deadline for parties to lay out a detailed investigative plan that would extend well beyond the limited and carefully worded explanations of the use of the private server that department and Clinton officials have given.
An official at the State Department confirmed that the agency was aware of the ruling but would not elaborate further because the lawsuit is ongoing.
Sullivan also indicated that he could order the State Department to subpoena Clinton and Abedin in order to return all records connected to Clinton’s personal email account to the agency.
“There has been a constant drip, drip, drip of declarations. When does it stop?” Sullivan said Tuesday. He further stated that the reports about Clinton’s use of personal email and the State Department’s handling of the situation that have emerged over the course of months have presented “at least a ‘reasonable suspicion’ ” that public records access under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was impaired.
“This case is about the public’s right to know,” the federal judge said.
The government could appeal Sullivan’s ruling, but it is unclear whether such an appeal will be made.
Clinton has received continued scrutiny for her use of personal email at the State Department, which was revealed nearly a year ago. Critics have argued that Clinton compromised national security by using an unsecured email system to discuss sensitive government business.
The State Department has been periodically vetting and releasing Clinton’s emails to the public, redacting many of them that contain classified information. The count of Clinton emails containing classified information rose to 1,730 with the State Department’s latest release, though the agency has said that they were not marked classified during Clinton’s tenure.
Last month, the State Department confirmed that 22 emails contain “top secret” information, and the messages were blocked from release because of their highly sensitive nature.
The FBI is currently investigating Clinton’s email setup.