Judge says Hillary Clinton may need to be deposed in email case

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a ruling Wednesday which says Hillary Clinton may be deposed in a lawsuit involving her use of a private email server depending on what is learned through the deposition of her closest aides.

In her ruling today Judge Sullivan writes, “Based on information learned during discovery, the deposition of Mrs. Clinton may be necessary.” The ruling continues, “If Plaintiff believes Mrs. Clinton’s testimony is required, it will request permission from the Court at the appropriate time.”

The suit, brought by conservative group Judicial Watch, contends that the State Department did not make a good faith response to an FOIA request by the group because it did not search Clinton’s private email account. Judge Sullivan allowed the the group to conduct discovery by deposing Clinton aides including Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Bryan Pagliano and Patrick Kennedy.

Those depositions are scheduled to be complete by July so any deposition of Clinton would happen after that. The Hill reports Clinton’s attorneys will fight to prevent that taking place:

“Her legal team is really going to fight that really hard,” predicted Matthew Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney who has raised questions about Clinton’s email setup.

“You have to take her deposition in this case to fully understand how it was designed and the whys and the what-fors.”

Whitaker tells the Hill the real danger to Clinton is that anything she says under oath to Judicial Watch could be used by the FBI when they get around to questioning her:

“You only want your client to tell their story once if at all,” said Whitaker, the executive director of a separate watchdog group called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. “If you’re going to stake out some ground in a deposition which is under oath, that’s really a dangerous opportunity to lay out a story that you say is true under penalty of perjury and then it might be used against you, ultimately, if you have to take the stand again.”

Some reports have suggested the FBI could wrap up its investigation into the mishandling of classified information as soon as this month.