Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will now be forced to testify in writing over her use of a private, unsecured email server while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.
According to CNN, federal judge Emmet Sullivan has dismissed a request by Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, that would have required Clinton to publicly testify under oath, instead saying that she would be required to submit her answers in writing within a 30 day period.
“We are pleased that this federal court ordered Hillary Clinton to [testify in writing] under oath to some key questions about her email scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement, also per CNN. “We will move quickly to get these answers. The decision is a reminder that Hillary Clinton is not above the law.”
As noted by the New York Times, this would effectively allow Clinton to follow through with the U.S. presidential election without this specter of further information in her email controversy coming to light until well after the polls had closed.
Hence, the skepticism on the part of many individuals regarding the judge’s decision to allow Hillary to testify in writing.
For Sullivan’s part, CNN noted that the federal judge at times seemed “skeptical that more substantive information could be gleaned from a deposition,” especially in light of her numerous public statements on the matter, failed F.B.I. action, and open testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“This is just another lawsuit intended to try to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” said Clinton spokesperson Brian Fallon. “We are glad that the judge has accepted our offer to answer these questions in writing rather than grant Judicial Watch’s request.”Fallon and other Clinton backers believe that Judicial Watch has been targeting Hillary and her husband Bill since the 1990s, in sort of an oblivious nod away from the dozens of scandals that have plagued the Clintons since that time.
For her own part, Clinton has said numerous times that she set up the flawed email server while Secretary of State out of a matter of convenience, and not in attempt to thwart the U.S.’ Freedom of Information Act. Clinton has also, on many different occasions, called this decision “a mistake.”
Clinton was not directly involved in the July court case, although her personal attorney David Kendall made an appearance to argue that any testimony would be “an exercise in futility,” noting that there is “not one scintilla of evidence on the central question of whether there was intent to thwart FOIA.”
Members of the right-wing Judicial Watch group had requested three hours to acquire Clinton’s testimony, as opposed to the seven hours that it had been given to ask questions of, according to CNN “current and former State Department officials” in July.
Judge Sullivan also denied a Judicial Watch request to depose Clarence Finney, a State Department official from the Freedom of Information Act office, but approved its plea to question former “IT official” John Bentel.
[Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]