Judicial Watch Asks for Federal Court Hearing over Hillary Clinton Email Issue
MARCH 17, 2015
(Washington, DC) – In response to revelations about the secret email accounts used by Hillary Clinton and other top State Department officials to conduct official government business Judicial Watch announced that it has asked a federal court to schedule a status conference with the State Department to discuss the production of records relevant to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit about Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the Benghazi scandal. Judicial Watch requests that the court set a “status conference in this matter as soon as possible to avoid further undue delays, prejudice and potential spoliation.” The request for a status conference was made to U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth.
A production of documents is due to Judicial Watch as required by the July 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242) for the following records subsequent to a May 13, 2014, FOIA request:
Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.
In its Motion for Status Conference Judicial Watch argues:
Because Secretary Clinton was at the center of the State Department’s official statement blaming the online video for the attack in Benghazi, her emails and those of her staff within the Office of the Secretary about the talking points given to Ambassador Rice are clearly responsive to Judicial Watch’s request.
On March 2, 2015, Judicial Watch learned through an alarming public report by the New York Times that Secretary Clinton used at least one non-“state.gov” email account exclusively to conduct official government business during her entire tenure as the Secretary of State. It also was reported that Secretary Clinton stored these records on a non-U.S. government server at her home in Chappaqua, New York.
Judicial Watch also highlights that this litigation almost certainly forced the State Department to publicly disclose Hillary Clinton’s secret email accounts:
On November 12, 2014, the State Department released its production of responsive, non-exempt, records that Judicial Watch understood to be complete. In its letter, the Department stated that it located four (4) documents as a result of its search of the Office of the Secretary…On December 5, 2014, the State Department produced its draft Vaughn index pursuant to the Court’s September 15, 2014 Order…In both instances, the State Department omitted that its search did not include Secretary Clinton’s emails in the Office of the Secretary. More egregiously, the State Department omitted that Secretary Clinton had apparently just turned over 55,000 pages of her agency emails that had not been searched or included in the Department’s draft Vaughn index…These omissions are material and were apparently made in the process of settlement discussions to induce dismissal.
A supplemental search and document production is due April 2, 2015 solely because Judicial Watch requested search affidavits, surprised that that the State Department located only four responsive records – none of which are Secretary Clinton’s emails and all of which were previously produced in another litigation…Judicial Watch has no reason to believe that the State Department would have ever disclosed that its search was compromised had Judicial Watch not asked for search affidavits when it reviewed the draft Vaughn index and limited production.
A statement by the State Department in a February 2, 2015, status report was the first notice to the public and the court that other records had not been searched: “has discovered that additional searches for documents potentially responsive to the FOIA must be conducted.”
In a separate court action last week, the State Department did not object to a Judicial Watch motion to reopen another FOIA lawsuit. The State Department did not object to Judicial Watch’s conclusion that there clear and convincing evidence of “fraud, misrepresentation, or misconduct” by Hillary Clinton and the State Department.
“There is no doubt that this FOIA lawsuit forced the disclosure of Hillary Clinton’s secret email accounts,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Hillary Clinton, the State Department, and the Department of Justice misled and gamed both Judicial Watch and a federal court. We’re concerned about recovering and securing records that the public is entitled to under the law.”