AUGUST 25, 2016
State Admits Benghazi Material in New Cache of Emails Clinton Failed to Produce
(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that a federal court has ordered the State Department to review newly found Clinton emails and turn over responsive records by September 13. And, in two other Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits, the State Department is scheduled to release additional emails from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s non-state.gov email system beginning September 30. In a court filing this week, the State Department admitted it had found Benghazi-related documents among the 14,900 Clinton emails and attachments uncovered by the FBI that Mrs. Clinton deleted and withheld from the State Department.
The first batch of new emails comes in response to a court order issued today in a November 13, 2015, Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed against the Department of State seeking all communications between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama White House from the day of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and throughout the following week. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Dr. Larry Kawa of Boca Raton, Florida, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division (Larry Kawa v. U.S. Department of State (No. 9:15-cv-81560)). Today’s order requiring the production of the emails from the 14,900 new Clinton emails as well as any other communications or emails from the other materials recently delivered to the State Department by the FBI was issued by U.S. District Court Judge William P. Dimitrouleas. The court ruled:
The State Department shall search the material, determine whether any responsive records exist, and complete its first production of non-exempt records, to the extent any exist, by September 13, 2016.
In a separate case, Judicial Watch has been seeking Clinton’s communications about the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, during which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith were killed. A second assault targeted a nearby compound, killing two government contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00692)).
After admitting in an August 23 court filing that it found documents that “satisfied the [Benghazi related] search terms” of the new Clinton emails, the State Department proposed a rolling production schedule, “under which State would make its first production of any non-exempt responsive records subject to FOIA on September 30, 2016, and complete production no later than October 31, 2016.” Judicial Watch then asked the court that State make known the volume of documents remaining to be reviewed before it accepts whether the production schedule is reasonable. Today, U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta informed the attorneys the court wants to schedule a hearing on this issue for Tuesday, August 30.
Judicial Watch is also scheduled to receive documents from the State Department in a case arising out of FOIA lawsuit before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Clinton. The lawsuit was reopened because of revelations about the clintonemail.com system. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). Judge Sullivan has now issued a court order stating:
[T]he State Department shall release all remaining documents responsive to Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act request by no later than September 30, 2016.
The 14,900 new Clinton emails were uncovered as a result of separate Judicial Watch litigation seeking all of Mrs. Clinton’s work related emails. At a status hearing this week, U.S. District Court Judge James E. Boasberg ordered the State Department to report to the court the volume of documents reviewed and be prepared to commit to a production schedule at a further status hearing on September 23, 2016.
“It is astonishing that Hillary Clinton tried to delete and hide Benghazi emails and documents. No wonder federal courts in Florida and DC are ordering the State Department to stop stalling and begin releasing the 14,900 new Clinton emails,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.