Federal Judge Says Clinton Deposition 'May Be Necessary' in Email Case

Posted: May 05, 2016 7:30 AM

A federal judge on Wednesday said Hillary Clinton may need to be interviewed as part of a review about her use of a personal email server while secretary of state.

Federal District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan made the observation in an order granting a plan for discovery by Judicial Watch, a Washington-based legal group seeking information about the arrangement that allowed Abedin to do outside work while she was working for Clinton at the State Department.

The question in the lawsuit is a narrow one — did the State Department do everything legally required when it searched for documents, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, about the Abedin employment arrangement?

To get the answer, Sullivan said, "questions surrounding the creation, purpose, and use of the clintonemail.com server must be explored through limited discovery," the legal term for gathering evidence in a civil lawsuit.

State, for its part, has argued that when they learned about the use of the private email account they began a new search for relevant documents among the pages Clinton had turned over. But Sullivan said State voluntarily searching through the thousands of pages already turned over by Clinton “hardly transforms the search into an adequate or reasonable one.”

Thus, Sullivan’s order gives the green light to a discovery plan drafted by both sides to interview multiple State Department officials—past and present, which could include Clinton.

“Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary,” Sullivan said in the order.

“If plaintiff believes Mrs. Clinton’s testimony is required, it will request permission from the Court at the appropriate time,” he added.

The order states that discovery must be wrapped up in two months’ time.  

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said on Wednesday that the order marks “a significant victory for transparency and accountability.”

“Judicial Watch will use this discovery to get all of the facts behind Hillary Clinton’s and the Obama State Department’s thwarting of FOIA so that the public can be sure that all of the emails from her illicit email system are reviewed and released to the public as the law requires,” he said in a statement.