The conservative watchdog site, Judicial Watch, today announced it filed a motion seeking to unseal the audiovisual recordings of the depositions of top Clinton aides and State Department officials.
The depositions come in connection with a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial employment status of Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to former Secretary Clinton (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). Judicial Watch argues that “even though the election is over, the news media and the public continue to monitor and follow the proceedings in this case.” A coalition of 19 news media organizations is already on record with the Court supporting public access to the videos.
The motion is opposed by the State Department, as well as Abedin, former State Department Director of Information Resource Management of the Executive Secretariat John Bentel (who took the Fifth Amendment in response to questions at his deposition); Cheryl D. Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff throughout her four years as secretary of state; and Bryan Pagliano, State Department Schedule C employee who has been reported to have serviced and maintained the server that hosted the “clintonemail.com” system. Pagliano also asserted his Fifth Amendment right in refusing to answer questions in his deposition in this case.
Judicial Watch argues:
[T]he Court has stated, “The public has a right to know details related to the creation, purpose and use of the clintonemail.com system.”
Because the public has a right to know, the audiovisual recordings of the depositions in this case must be unsealed. The sole reason for sealing the recordings in the first place was to avoid their misuse during the 2016 campaign season. Now that the election is over that reason no longer exists.
Prior to her deposition, Mills moved for a court seal on the audiovisual recordings of her deposition. Subsequently, the court granted Ms. Mills’ motion and also sealed the audiovisual recordings of all depositions until further notice.
“The public and the media have a right to see these deposition videos of top officials from the Clinton State Department,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The courts and the continued work of Judicial Watch is clearly the only hope of bringing sunlight into the Clinton email issue and completing the public record.”