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Judicial Watch • JW v. State Dept. 14-01242 Lamberth ruling

JW v. State Dept. 14-01242 Lamberth ruling

JW v. State Dept. 14-01242 Lamberth ruling

Page 1: JW v. State Dept. 14-01242 Lamberth ruling


Number of Pages:10

Date Created:December 6, 2018

Date Uploaded to the Library:December 07, 2018

Tags:Slate, Stale, Ruling, lamberth, Dept, private, Discovery, 01242, Sullivan, search, Freedom, hillary, order, email, Emails, Benghazi, Secretary, Hillary Clinton, clinton, Obama, FBI, FOIA, IRS, CIA, Judge

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Plaintiff, Civil Case No. 14-1242
MEMBRANE OPINION his rst full day Presidcm Obama sat worthy standard {or his
aldrnintsltatimr crmlplimrce Freedom Inibmaziun Act: democracy requires atcnunlabilily. and accolmlzlbuiiy mlrrires
transparency Juslice Louis Bmlzdc Tum, sunlight the best
disinibcmll our democracy, the lllfmmatmxl Act (Pom), whfah
cncuul tlges accuumability (luuugh transpzll [he mart prominent expression apmfomrd rralirmzd lzmllmitmem ensuring open government the heart
ofthblt wmlrritmem the idea that accorrlrtahil tty it: the interest the
Govcnlmem and lhe cilizenry zllilra. 01A} nmlld admildstered clear pmwmpncn: the face
doubt, openness prevails. The (mum shuuld ml. keep ill rmlation demiai marry because public 011 lals might mlmmsscrl disrlosrrm
because errors and lllres mighl rcvcalcd, because lrpcculazive
absh fem. Nondisclosnre should new! hascd effort pmmct the
personal interests Gnchmcm cials 1hr: :xpcrlsc [hm they are
rupprtsert serve. responding requesls undcr the mm, curl
agencies should act promptly and Spirit tal conpcrrrlrtm, rccngn
such agencies are sen/am; Lhe public
All agencies should adopt presumption favor nfdisciosme renew
their colnmiuzlcm the principles eleht) and ler new era upon cam-mm The presumption of( cloiulc shouId applied all
dccisiuus involving
Freedom ofIrlformallon Act Iviemmandum. led. Reg. 4683 (Jan, 2}, 2000
But this case, faced with on:- the graves! modern izrises government
transparency, liis Slate and Jug-Lice Departments fell far slum. far short llmi the Conn
questions. even now, Whether they are acting good faith. Did Hillary (linmn 1152 her private
cmajl 3.9 Stizremry Slat: iwan this lofty goal? Was the Slate Dcpanmen ltempt some
this FOIA cast: 2014 effon avoid searching and disclosing the existence Clinwn
missing emails? And has ve: adequately scanned for records This case? July six months Clinton resigned Lu: Searsnny State, Judicial Watch filed
{his FOIA suii sccking emails Climon and he: aides concerning the talking palms former .N. Ambassador Small Ric: uscd dcfcnd Illa Ohama Adminisimlions mspunsg the manic Lhc U28. Emlyns liengllaii,-Lib_ya. Cmnpl. ECF No, And although would take
more than six momhs for the public leaul Clinron exclusively; used pin-m mam
Secretary. Sac Michucl Schmidt, Hillary Clinton Mimi Personal Email Account State 0471.,
1105:!ny Breaking Mes. NY. Times (Mar. 21m 5). ht!p5:y lwwwzny!imcs omf 03/03/L151 poliljCs/l llary-Clinlons irse-uf wie- emai itc-departmer -raises
agsliiml. department cials almidy 1mm Clinlon emails wczc missing from its records.
Sen Rachel Bade, Sum Made Earlier Requmlfbr (Yin/nu Hum Over Emailx, Poli (Feb.
113. 201 5:32 PM), Imps:l/wmn.pulitico.oorn/5wry/1Dl6/02 iliniy-ulimnn emails statcv
State played this mini (21056 it! chant. Novcmlmr 2014. Stale [01d Judicial Watch
performed legally aiicqualc Search and concluded sciilcmem was appropriaic. dsspiic luwwing
Cilnton emails war: missing and unwiilclmd. lO/l215 TI. l423 hCl No. 53. December
201471116 same day Clininn quietly [umcd 55.000 pages ofhcr missing emails 51m: [gave
See 5/11]
Judicial Watch nail Vaughn index making mention ofthc nmcarched rem
Status Report ECIT N0, Judicial Watch dccliticd lake Staff word for it, rcqumlirtg
Search dCCl thJL Sec 5/]! Status Report raw weeks later, State iod status report
with this Court that. failed mknowledge the unscmched emails hut suggested was possible settle this case, 0/31/14 Status Report ECE No, 10. After zmather munth ram:
silenceiby them [must Lhrve months after Stan: realized never searched Clinton emails:
and two triomhs Clinwn gave th: szarlmartt 30,490 oftlie smails recovered from
her privbzte server (slrc deleted the iestFStatc led another status report admitting additional
setuuhc for ductimems pmmtially responsive the FUIA must conducted rind asking fur-
two months conduct them searches LIZ/15 Status Report ECF No. month later.
liidicial Watch read the Net York Time; and realized what State was talking about. See Pi}:
Mot: Slams Cotif. ECF No. That story, alung with Tepimiirg that Climax former Chief
ofS mlfChcryl Mills and former Deputy Chiefs Staffliuma Abt tlht and Jake Sullivan also
uscd rwrml Email cmtduct gtwemmcm business. [es Plis Mot. Shims (Tani. Michael
Schmidt, Ciinmn Emails Banghltri, Rare Glimpse 6:110 Conwms, N311 Times. Maia 23.
2015), https://www,r:}1iirics.u01tijl()l5r 03f23/ustpolitics,/inrclimon-cmziils on-hsmgliazia ran:-
glimps:-at~her-concerns.html. exposed State deceit this Cassi basin State attempt pass-off its deficient search lugally adequate during
settlement ncgmjations Was negligence burn out ofincnmpemn worst career employees
the State and Justice Departments cailudcd scuttle public scrutiny oft llinmn, skin FUlA, and
htmdwink this; Com
lhe curzcrit Justice Tkpartmertt things worse. When tltc government tuat apwaretl
before the Court, cmmsel claims-LE [not] true it) say miSled eithci Judicial Watch the
Court, lOJ lZ/IS 15:6 When accused dotblcspcztk coumc tlc nlc vehemently
feigned offense, and elven-ed complete ax. MHZ/18 T1: its-17 When asked why State
masked the inadequacy its tial Search, counsel claimed that the cials who initially
remanded Judicial Watch request didn realiLe Clinton emails were missing and that.
took lhem two months gurc nut wltat was going meme winter-Secretary. mmcd-
presitmptive presidentjztl cztntlidztte delivered twelve hanks] boxes Emails 10/12/18 Tr, l4:7 When asked why took long for State aim the missing emails mid its initial aim
searcii ciency, counsel cited normal FOIA practice. 10/12/18 41:21-22
5/1/15 Status Repurt FCF No. {calling {ull-Uf IllErmlll FOIA dispute
Caunsel respimses strain crocinlityv And even before this recent chicanery, the Cum
fuund enough signs government wrongdoing tojustify discovery, including intu whether
Clinton used her private email tulinientiminlly flout FOIA. See, 3/29/16 Mcm. Order, ECF N0. But the Court put-oi? setting speci discovery Drd min 14] parallel proceedings
before Judge Sullivan, seerldicia! Watch, Inc, up? x-1m, 134363. and ongoing
investigations State inspector General, the Federal Bureau investigation and the House
Select Committee Benghnzi. Since those inquiries ennttludctl, the: Court now ordain the parties meet and confer develop discovery plan into whether Clinton used private email
stymic FOIA whether State attempts settle the Case despite knuwing its initial Smith was
inadequate amounted bad faith, and whether State subsequent searches have been adequate. DISCUSSION
with the government investigations concluded and diswVery before Judge Sullivan
winding down, Judicial Vtiwlt sought Verify the adeqttdcy good- iit nFSta scale}:
this ms: with requests for production and depnsitions bearing State testxmscs miter
inguii icsv See His NO~.VL, ECP no. 50. tic: its part: State argued discovery uimcccssan
bemuse the discovery licfmc Judge Sullivan and the additional infomadun made public since
March 2016. See Def/s Nutiee, Na. Today the Court mdem the parties develop
diswveijv plan limited three issues: whether Clinton used private email evade FOIA,
whether Ennis attempts settle the case despite knowing the imulcquztey its initiza cam}:
constitxziexl bail faith, and whellier Stam subsequent scaxches for responsive records have been
Although ldjiscowry FGlA rare, Rakar Hmmtler 1.1,? Dep Cammercc.
473 F.3d 312 318 (11C. Cir. 2006}, [ljhe major excepiiun i~g when the plaintiffi aiscs
suf cient question the agency good faith pmcessingliocumenis. Landmark Legal
med AER/1.. 959 Supp. 175. 184 (DDL 2013:)(quu1jng US. Dcp (Muslim, Guide the Freedom lnfxmuation AeL 812 (2009)), these cases, discovery veri ihe government
adequately searched fur resptmsivc records. See Weisberg Webmr, 749 F.2d 864, 868 (up. 1984).
But even ubsm oftliese cases, the gowmmem response FQIA request
5macks nfnuuagcnus misconduct. And those cases merit additional discuvery into the
guvemmem, mmivcs. ,.Juyii.r:ia1 Wuwh, Inc. Dep lommercs, Supp, 28,
(H.110. 1998); DiBacm US. Army, 795 F.3d 178. 192-93 (DC. Cir. 2015); cf, Mowers
IRS Supp. 60, {DUCK 20041).
This one ofthuse cases. The Court takes pleasure questianing [he lute-mums ofthc
nation most august executive departments, But still rcmzi mknown whether flintxm
private email duck FOIA requests. indeed: the focus ome remaining discovery before
Judge Sullivan. See Mcm {