Posted: 3:57 am EDT
On February 23, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District Court of the District of Columbia granted Judicial Watch’s (JW) motion for discovery. The case is Judicial Watch vs. U.S. Department of State (Civil Action No. 13-cv-1363 (EGS)). Court records say that JW will need to submit a Discovery Plan To Court and Counsel by 3/15/2016. The State Department’s response is due by 4/5/2016 and JW’s reply is due by 4/15/2016.
Below is an excerpt from JW’s Motion for Discovery:
While Mrs. Clinton ultimately returned approximately 55,000 pages of federal records from this “off-grid” system to the State Department, the process for identifying the federal records on the system was undertaken by Mrs. Clinton’s private attorneys, individuals only accountable to the former secretary, not employees accountable to the Department. In addition, there is no evidence that the process complied with appropriate federal records laws, rules, and regulations. The net result is that the integrity of the State Department’s FOIA process has been completely and thoroughly undermined to the substantial detriment of FOIA requesters like Plaintiff who submitted requests to the Department implicating Mrs. Clinton’s official email. In addition to ensuring that the State Department has satisfied its FOIA obligations with respect to the request at issue in this case, a compelling need exists to restore the integrity of the FOIA process at the State Department and ensure accountability for the FOIA violations that occurred. Before this can be accomplished, however, Plaintiff requires discovery to uncover and present admissible evidence to the Court about whether the State Department and Mrs. Clinton deliberately thwarted FOIA. Plaintiff also requires discovery of the system itself to determine possible methods for recovering whatever responsive records may still exist. The Court therefore should grant Plaintiff time to conduct discovery and obtain admissible evidence.
Plaintiff submits that discovery of the following facts about the use of the “clintonemail.com” system are necessary for the Court to determine whether the State Department and Mrs. Clinton deliberately thwarted FOIA:
• Who at the State Department besides Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin used an email address on the “clintonemail.com” system to conduct official government business;
• Who at the State Department knew that Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin were using “clintonemail.com” email addresses to conduct official government business;
• Were any State Department monies, resources, or personnel used to create the “clintonemail.com” system;
• Was Mrs. Clinton assigned a “state.gov” email address and, if not, why was she not assigned one;
• Why did the State Department not provide Mrs. Clinton with any personal computing devices to conduct official government business;
• Was Mrs. Clinton advised at any point to use a “state.gov” email address to conduct official government business instead of a “clintonemail.com” email address;
• Was Ms. Abedin advised to use her “state.gov” email address exclusively to conduct official government business;
• Under what circumstances did Ms. Abedin use the “clintonemail.com” system to conduct official government business;
• From January 21, 2009 to the day that the New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton used the “off-grid” system, how did the State Department handle FOIA and other legal requests that implicated Mrs. Clinton’s email;
• From January 21, 2009 to the day that the New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton used the “off-grid” system, did anyone at the State Department consider publicly disclosing the use of the “clintonemail.com” system to conduct official government business;
• Who at the State Department assisted Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin in using the “clintonemail.com” system or enabled them to use it to conduct official government business;
• Did the State Department deliberately conceal the existence of the “clintonemail.com” system from the public, and, if so, who at the State Department assisted with ensuring that the public would not find out about the use of the system to conduct official government business;
• Were State Department employees instructed not to inform the public or the National Archives and Records Administration about the use of the “clintonemail.com” system; and
• At any time between January 21, 2009 and the day that the New York Times reported that Mrs. Clinton used the “off-grid” system was any State Department employee disciplined or reprimanded for questioning the use of the “clintonemail.com” system to conduct official government business.
The discovery motion says JW will need “to depose State Department officials or employees who had oversight and management responsibilities relating to information systems at the department, as well as officials or employee who were involved in planning and assisting with Mrs. Clinton’s transition and arrival at the State Department.”
The names cited in the court filing includes the Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, the Director of IPS John F. Hackett and the Executive Secretary Joseph E. Macmanus.
Just so you know it doesn’t stop there, the filing also includes this:
To the extent relevant personnel have left the State Department’s employment, Plaintiff may have to serve third party deposition and/or document subpoenas on such persons after they have been identified. It also may include third party depositions and/or document requests to private persons or entities who may have advised or assisted Mrs. Clinton on the establishment of the system, including persons registered the domain name and obtained, set up, and coordinated the equipment, software, data files, etc. needed for the system. It may also include the submission of interrogatories and document requests to the State Department.
On October 3, 1984, Judge Sullivan was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. On November 25, 1991, Judge Sullivan was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to serve as an Associate Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. On June 16, 1994, Judge Sullivan was appointed by President William J. Clinton to serve as United States District Judge for the District of Columbia. Here’s the troubled judge:
Professor Jonathan Turley writes that “any depositions might result in refusals to testify by key officials. The invocation of Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination would have significant political impacts. After all, no one would suggest that Sullivan is part of a right-wing conspiracy or runaway investigation. The refusal to testify would reflect the real danger of tripping the wire on federal classification laws as well as more general concerns that statements conflicting statements with those government investigators could trigger charges under 18 U.S.C. 1001.” Read more below:
Read the entire motion here: