A federal district court judge today granted a motion by Judicial Watch for discovery into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately thwarted the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, issued the ruling in a FOIA case seeking records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton.
In granting the motion, Judge Sullivan explained that months of piecemeal revelations about Clinton and the State Department’s handling of the email controversy created “at least a ‘reasonable suspicion’” that public access to official government records under the federal Freedom of Information Act was undermined. He cited the State Department’s inspector general’s finding last month that the State Department repeatedly allowed “inaccurate and incomplete” FOIA responses, including a May 2013 reply that found “no records” concerning email accounts Clinton used, even though dozens of senior officials had corresponded with her private account. We discussed that finding here.
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, had this to say about the ruling:
Judge Sullivan’s ruling granting Judicial Watch’s request for discovery is a major victory for the public’s right to know the truth about Hillary Clinton’s email system. The court-ordered discovery will help determine why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton, even despite receiving numerous FOIA requests, kept the record system secret for years.
Our proposed discovery, which will require court approval, will include testimony of current and former officials of the State Department. 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.
So, while the FBI continues to investigate whether the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee committed felonies, discovery will proceed in federal court as to whether she deliberately thwarted federal law pertaining to document production.