Another federal judge in Washington District Court ruled Tuesday a group suing for access to Hillary Clinton’s public email records. The evidence discovery ruling pertains to the period of time that she served as US Secretary of State and the prosecution may seek sworn testimony, according to a Reuters article published Tuesday.Judge Royce Lamberth said there was “evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith”, enough so to cast doubt on Clinton’s assertion that she did nothing wrong in setting up an unsecured private email server in her home to conduct sensitive government business. The ruling comes as a blow to the Democrat running for president and comes as FBI agents prepare to interview Clinton’s top aides and possibly Clinton in a criminal case regarding the distribution of classified and top-secret information over the same server.
Meanwhile, Clinton has not been able to shake Bernie Sanders, her Democratic opponent, in polls; last week he won caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii. Sanders’ wins may not matter however since Clinton has the Democratic Party’s Superdelegates locked up.
Lamberth’s order in the civil case does not support Clinton’s smug dismissal of the separate email investigation by the FBI as being insignificant. “That’s not going to happen,” Clinton told a reporter who asked what she would do if indicted. Meanwhile, the FBI reportedly has at least 147 agents working on the investigation as it moves into the final phase that includes eliciting separate testimony from present and former State Department staff and top Clinton aides.
Lamberth, (referring to State Department officials, Clinton and her aides) expressed frustration over “constantly shifting admissions by government and former government officials.” The case is a civil matter whereas the FBI is conducting a criminal inquiry into Clinton’s handling of classified information on her homebrew server.
Notably, Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, brought suit under open records laws against the State Department in order to collect evidence in the new civil case, which may include testimony from subpoenaed individuals. “Where there is evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA (freedom-of-information) cases,” Lamberth stated in a court document.
Clinton, who said she only used the server out of “personal convenience”, has involved the State Department in scores of lawsuits from different groups, individuals and media who complain the government is wrongfully denying access to public records from her tenure. The democrat wouldn’t return her email records to the State Department for two years after her departure and only after many lawsuits were filed.
Judge Sullivan, overseeing a separate lawsuit demanding access to Clinton’s records also approved a motion for discovery which led to the FBI investigating Clinton for her and possibly others’ handling of classified information.
Political pressure over Clinton’s worsening email scandal and the potential indictment of top aides and State Department officials will increase as this new civil suit moves forward in federal court. The FBI is reportedly in the final stages of its investigation which includes taking sworn testimony from those involved.