Jim Kouri
April 4, 2016
Federal judge allows watchdog group access to Clinton email
By Jim Kouri

Despite the national news media's failure in covering the ongoing investigation of Hillary Clinton's activities while she served as President Barack Obama's top diplomat, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Department's inspector general's office, and a number of non-government organizations (NGO) investigating public corruption continue their pursuit of the truth. They assert that they are using the federal civil courts to achieve the transparency promised to the American people by President Obama.

For example, on Tuesday U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth – of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia – granted "limited discovery" to the attorneys from the well-respected, public-interest group Judicial Watch into former Secretary of State Clinton's email case.

The 72-year-old Judge Lamberth ruled that "where there is evidence of government wrong-doing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in [Freedom of Information Act] FOIA cases."

Lamberth is a regarded as a conservative judge who falls into the constitutionalist/originalist category. While serving as a circuit court judge in the nation's capital, he has confronted several cases regarding Obama's questionable actions such as ruling that President Obama's program to provide funding for embryonic-stem-cell research was an illegal act.

In 1987, President Reagan appointed him to the D.C. U.S. District Court. In 2008, he became the court's chief judge.

His latest ruling addresses a July 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records related to the drafting and use of the Benghazi talking points. The lawsuit seeks records specifically from Hillary Clinton and her top State Department staff including Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin. The records sought include copies of any updates and/or talking points given to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Also, included in the ruling are any and all records or communications surrounding the suspicious talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency. Rice had allegedly misled the American people by going on Sunday morning news and talk shows after the Battle of Benghazi and made statements that were proven to be false.

Judge Lamberth ruled in favor of Judicial Watch's Motion for Discovery, which the group had filed in their opposition to the State Department's Motion for Summary Judgement.

According to Judicial Watch on Tuesday, the judge ruled:

An understanding of the facts and circumstances surrounding Secretary Clinton's extraordinary and exclusive use of her "clintonemail.com" account to conduct official government business, as well as other officials' use of this account and their own personal e-mail accounts to conduct official government business is required before the Court can determine whether the search conducted here reasonably produced all responsive documents. Plaintiff is certainly entitled to dispute the State Department's position that it has no obligation to produce these documents because it did not "possess" or "control" them at the time the FOIA request was made. The State Department's willingness to now search documents voluntarily turned over to the Department by Secretary Clinton and other officials hardly transforms such a search into an "adequate" or "reasonable" one. Plaintiff is not relying on "speculation" or "surmise" as the State Department claims. Plaintiff is relying on constantly shifting admissions by the Government and the former government officials. Whether the State Department's actions will ultimately be determined by the Court to not be "acting in good faith" remains to be seen at this time, but plaintiff is clearly entitled to discovery and a record before this Court rules on that issue.

Tuesday's ruling refers to U.S. District Court Emmett Sullivan's decision to grant Judicial Watch discovery on the Clinton email matter in separate litigation: "Briefing is ongoing before Judge Sullivan. When Judge Sullivan issues a discovery order, the plaintiff shall – within ten days thereafter – file its specific proposed order detailing what additional proposed discovery, tailored to this case, it seeks to have this Court order. Defendant shall respond ten days after plaintiff's submission."

The 69-year-old Judge Sullivan is expected to rule on Judicial Watch's discovery plan after April 15, 2016. Sullivan, who is an African American and a judge appointed by Hillary Clinton's husband in 1994, is also the presiding judge in the case of Judicial Watch v. IRS.

Attorneys for the non-profit Judicial Watch are seeking the testimony of eight current and former State Department officials, including top State Department official Patrick Kennedy, former State IT employee Bryan Pagliano, and Clinton's two top aides at the State Department: Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin.

Pagliano is said to have entered into an "immunity deal" with FBI agents investigating Mrs. Clinton and he is the alleged installer of Clinton's unauthorized email system including an unsecured Internet server and hosting firm.

According to Judicial Watch's President Tom Fitton, "This remarkable decision will allow Judicial Watch to explore the shifting stories and misrepresentations made by the Obama State Department and its current and former employees."

"This Benghazi litigation first uncovered the Clinton email scandal, so it is good to have discovery in this lawsuit which may help the American people find out why our efforts to get Benghazi answers was thwarted by Clinton's email games," Fitton added.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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