A federal judge on Tuesday refused to release drafts of criminal indictments prepared by prosecutors in the 1990s intended to charge Hillary Clinton during the Whitewater investigation.
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that Clinton’s "significant privacy interest in not revisiting past criminal investigations" trumped public interest in the disclosure, particularly because the Democratic nominee was never indicted in the case, Politico reported.
Walton also said a court rule requiring grand jury secrecy protected the drafts from disclosure.
"The fact that information about the independent counsel’s investigation and potential indictment of Mrs. Clinton is readily available to the public does not extinguish Mrs. Clinton’s privacy interest," Walton wrote.
"Although an individual’s interests in privacy fade when the information involved already appears on the public record’ … ‘the fact that an event is not wholly private does not mean that an individual has no interest in limiting disclosure or dissemination of [the requested] information,’" he added, citing previous cases.
Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sued for the records under the Freedom of Information Act, arguing that Clinton’s bid for the White House has heightened public interest in the drafts.
"It’s difficult to imagine how a person running for the presidency enjoys a form of ‘privacy’ concerning their near-indictment on criminal charges that somehow supersedes the public’s right to know," Judicial Watch spokesman Chris Farrell said in a statement.
Prosecutors had prepared the draft indictments while considering whether to charge Clinton for her involvement in making shady investments in the failed Arkansas-based Whitewater reality and a loan company.