Proposes witness list in FOIA case, after winning motion for discovery.
In late February we reported that the court in the FOIA case seeking State Department records as to Huma Abedin granted Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery, and required Judicial Watch to submit a discovery plan:
In a ruling sure to keep the Hillary Clinton email scandal alive through the summer, if not longer, a federal just has granted Judicial Watch the right to take discovery as to whether Hillary’s home server was part of an effort to evade the Freedom of Information (FOIA) law by shifting federal records off-site and into the sole control of Hillary, her attorney’s and consultants….
Given the difficulty of obtaining records, particularly in light of the destruction of at least some records maintained on Hillary’s home server, led Judicial Watch to seek discovery, including depositions of key officials. Such discovery is not routine in FOIA cases, and good cause needs to be shown to obtain discovery….
The Court granted the motion today, via two Minute Orders (meaning orders reflected on the court docket sheet, not separate documents:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan: Motion Hearing held on 2/23/2016 re 48 MOTION for Discovery filed by JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. The Court grants 48 Motion for Discovery. ( Plaintiff to Submit Discovery Plan To Court and Counsel by 3/15/2016. Defendant Response due by 4/5/2016. Plaintiff Replies due by 4/12/2016. Order To Be Issued. (Court Reporter SCOTT WALLACE.) (mac) (Entered: 02/23/2016)
MINUTE ORDER directing Judicial Watch to submit a detailed, narrowly tailored, discovery plan no later than March 15, 2016. The State Department shall respond to Plaintiffs discovery proposal no later than April 5, 2016. Judicial Watch shall file its reply no later than April 12, 2016. Judicial Watch and the State Department shall also inform the Court of all pending FOIA cases related to former Secretary Clintons use of clintonemail.com where a motion for discovery has been filed. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on February 23, 2016. (lcegs4) (Entered: 02/23/2016)
Stephen D. Mull (Executive Secretary of the State Department from June 2009 to October 2012 and suggested that Mrs. Clinton be issued a State Department BlackBerry, which would protect her identity and would also be subject to FOIA requests);
Lewis A. Lukens (Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat from 2008 to 2011 and emailed with Patrick Kennedy and Cheryl Smith about setting up a computer for Mrs. Clinton to check her clintonemail.com email account);
Patrick F. Kennedy (Under Secretary for Management since 2007 and the Secretary’s principal advisor on management issues, including technology and information services);
Donald R. Reid (Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security since 2003 and was involved in early discussions about Mrs. Clinton using her BlackBerry and other devices to conduct official State Department business);
30(b)(6) deposition(s) of Defendant [designated witness(es) for the State Department] regarding the processing of FOIA requests, including Plaintiff’s FOIA request, for emails of Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin both during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and after;
Cheryl D. Mills (Mrs. Clinton’s Chief of Staff throughout her four years as Secretary of State);
Huma Abedin (Mrs. Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff and a senior advisor to Mrs. Clinton throughout her four years as Secretary of State and also had an email account on clintonemail.com); and
Bryan Pagliano (State Department Schedule C employee who has been reported to have serviced and maintained the server that hosted the “clintonemail.com” system during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State four years as secretary).
Judicial Watch also seeks court approval of written questions requiring answers under oath by the State Department, and other depositions of record keepers.
Critically, Judicial watch put the parties and the court on notice that it may seek Hillary’s deposition later one:
Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary. If [Judicial Watch] believes Mrs. Clinton’s testimony is required, it will request permission from the Court at the appropriate time.
It makes sense for Judicial Watch to learn as much as it can from as many witnesses as it can before seeking Hillary’s deposition.
Procedurally, the court will recognize the political implications and will want to assure itself that there is a good reason to take sworn testimony from a leading presidential candidate.
Substantively, for Judicial Watch to make a Hillary deposition most productive, it will want to know what others know beforehand, given the Clintonian nature of Hillary’s answer’s to everything. Questions will need to be precise, and leave nothing for interpretation, not even what the meaning of “is” is.
A court ruling is expected on or about April 15. What this all means is that the Hillary email and server dispute will continue to meander through the federal court for at least 2-3 months. And if Hillary does testify, it likely will be as the general election is kicking off over the summer.