May 11, 2015: A former CIA official is sentenced to prison for giving the name of a CIA asset to a reporter.

Jeffrey Sterling (Credit: Gawker)

Jeffrey Sterling (Credit: Gawker)

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling is sentenced to three and a half years in prison. He was convicted of nine criminal counts for leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen in 2003. Prosecutors claimed it was a plot to embarrass the CIA, after he was fired from the agency in 2002. However, others have seen him as a whistleblower. It was alleged that in 2003, Sterling revealed information about a CIA operation to harm Iran’s nuclear program by having a scientist provide Iran with intentionally flawed nuclear component schematics. However, Risen wrote in a 2006 book that the operation was mismanaged and may have inadvertently aided Iran. Sterling also revealed his concerns about the program to the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2003.

US District Judge Leonie Brinkema says Sterling caused damage by effectively revealing the identity of someone working for the CIA, and “If you do knowingly reveal these secrets, there’s going to be a price to be paid.” (The Washington Post, 5/11/2015) (The New York Times, 1/26/2015)

October 7, 2015: A judge will not order an independent review of which Clinton emails are personal or work-related.

US District Court Judge Reggie Walton says that he does not believe he has the authority to order such a review. Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking all of her work emails, and they want to know if there in fact are some work emails in the ones Clinton decided were personal. The issue presumes that she still has copies of the over 31,000 emails she had deleted off her private server.

Walton says, “I would order the State Department make the request of her to produce specifically any State Department-related information in her emails. I can’t in my view order that the State Department do any more than that.” Another judge has already ordered the public release of all the emails that Clinton decided were work-related. (Politico, 10/7/2015)

October 8, 2015: A judge wants to coordinate the lawsuits about Clinton’s emails.

Judge Richard W. Roberts (Credit: The Council on Legal Education Opportunity)

Judge Richard W. Roberts (Credit: The Council on Legal Education Opportunity)

Chief US District Judge Richard W. Roberts writes in a court order that the many legal cases about Clinton’s emails do not meet the usual criteria for consolidation but: “The judges who have been randomly assigned to these cases have been and continue to be committed to informal coordination so as to avoid unnecessary inefficiencies and confusion, and the parties are also urged to meet and confer to assist in coordination.” (The Wall Street Journal, 10/8/2015)

May 4, 2016: A judge says Clinton may have to testify under oath in a court case.

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has ordered some of Clinton’s former top aides to testify under oath about Clinton’s private email server and how the State Department handled Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding Clinton’s emails. Based on what is revealed in those interviews, due to take place in the next two months, Sullivan says that a sworn deposition from Clinton herself “may be necessary.” Judicial Watch, who made the original FOIA requests, would have to file a separate request “at the appropriate time.”

The Associated Press notes, “That raises the possibility that Clinton could be ordered to testify in the midst of the presidential race.” (The Associated Press, 5/4/2016) (LawNewz, 5/4/2016)

May 4, 2016: Six former State Department officials are to be deposed under oath in the next two months.

Lewis Lukens (Credit: public domain)

Lewis Lukens (Credit: public domain)

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan says the depositions are necessary in order to determine if the department conducted an adequate search regarding Judicial Watch’s 2013 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the employment of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, since she had three outside jobs at one point.

Deposition questions are to be limited to the set-up and management of Clinton’s private server, since the department failed to reveal Clinton’s emails on the server in response to the FOIA request. The former aides due to be deposed in the next two months are:

  • Huma Abedin
  • Cheryl Mills
  • Bryan Pagliano
  • Patrick Kennedy
  • Stephen Mull
  • Lewis Lukens
  • plus, someone to be decided by the State Department.

Judicial Watch could make a video of their interviews public. (LawNewz, 5/4/2016) (The Associated Press, 5/4/2016)

May 5, 2016: 36 more Clinton emails are publicly released, suggesting many more still to come.

In January 2016, a federal judge ordered the State Department to release all the known emails of Huma Abedin from her time as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff. This is in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch.

Over 29,000 pages of emails are due to be released in batches, and this is the first batch of 241 pages. Some of the emails are between Abedin and Clinton, and most if not all of them appear to be work-related, showing yet again that Clinton did not turn over all her work-related emails when she gave the State Department over 30,000 emails in December 2014.

21 of the emails between Abedin and Clinton date from January 28, 2009 to March 17, 2009; Clinton had said she didn’t use her new email account until March 18, 2009.

Another 15 emails between them date between March 18, 2009 to October 20, 2012, and do not match any of emails in the State Department’s database of the 30,000 publicly released Clinton emails. Whereas 16 emails dating from March 20, 2009 to May 28, 2009 do appear in that database. (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) (US Department of State, 5/1/2016) 

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton comments, “These emails further undermine Hillary Clinton’s statement, under penalty of perjury, suggesting she turned over all of her government emails to the State Department. How many more Hillary Clinton emails is the Obama State Department hiding?” (Judicial Watch, 5/5/2016) Since these emails appear to be:

  • a more or less random selection from all four years of Clinton’s time as secretary of state
  • about half of the emails from March 18, 2009 and afterwards are not included in the 30,000 previously released emails
  • this batch makes up less than one percent of all the Huma Abedin emails due to be released
  • Abedin’s emails make up only about 15 percent of the 30,000 emails

One can reasonably estimate that thousands of the over 31,000 emails Clinton deleted actually are work-related and are likely to be publicly released in later batch releases of Abedin’s emails as well as FOIA lawsuits forcing the release of emails from other top Clinton aides. In fact, if this sample is a truly random sample representative of the rest of the emails from Abedin and other top Clinton aides, well over 10,000 of Clinton’s deleted emails could be work-related.

May 16, 2016: Clinton may be forced to testify under oath in a civil lawsuit related to her emails.

Judicial Watch formally asks US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth for permission to depose Clinton as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit.

This is actually one of two similar cases involving Judicial Watch and Clinton. In the other case, handled by federal judge Emmet Sullivan, Judicial Watch has not asked for Clinton’s deposition yet, but they may do so in the future, and they are deposing some of her former aides. In this case, Clinton could be forced to testify under oath about her use of a private email account for government work as well as the State Department’s response to FOIA requests for information related to the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. (Politico, 05/16/2016)

May 17, 2016: Depositions in a civil lawsuit related to Clinton’s emails will begin within days and continue until the end of June.

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan is allowing Judicial Watch to depose six US officials under oath, mostly Clinton’s former aides, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, on the following dates:

  • May 18: Former deputy assistant secretary of state Lewis Lukens will be interviewed on May 18.
  • May 27: Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills.
  • June 3: Stephen Mull, former State Department executive secretary.
  • June 6: Bryan Pagliano, Clinton’s former computer technician who managed her private server.
  • June 28: Huma Abedin, Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff.
  • June 29: Patrick Kennedy, the State Department’s under secretary for management since 2007 until current.

Judicial Watch can interview each witness for up to seven hours, and the video of the interviews can be made public several days later. The questioning will be limited, but includes the issue of how Clinton’s private server was set up and managed, and why the State Department didn’t properly fulfill FOIA requests for Clinton’s emails. (The Wall Street Journal, 5/17/2016) (Judicial Watch, 5/17/2015)

May 18, 2016: Former Clinton aide Lewis Lukens testifies under oath for two hours about his knowledge of Clinton’s emails and private server.

Lewis Lukens (Credit: Harry Hamburg / The Associated Press)

Lewis Lukens (Credit: Harry Hamburg / The Associated Press)

Lukens has been deposed as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by Judicial Watch. He is the first of six to be deposed as part of that lawsuit, which is presided over by federal judge Emmet Sullivan. (The New York Times, 5/18/2016) (Judicial Watch v. State Lukens Testimony 01363 5/26/2016)

May 25, 2016: Guccifer pleads guilty as part of an apparent deal to cooperate with US investigators.

Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

Judge James Cacheris (Credit: public domain)

The Romanian hacker nicknamed Guccifer pleads guilty in a US court to charges of identity theft and unauthorized access to protected computers. At a plea hearing before US District Court Judge James Cacheris in Alexandria, VA, he admits that he broke into email and social media accounts of about 100 US citizens between 2012 and 2014.

Guccifer is best known for breaking into the email account of Clinton confidant Sid Blumenthal in March 2013 and thus publicly revealing Clinton’s private email address. He could face up to seven years in prison in the US, on top of the seven years he is already serving in Romania.

He is due to be sentenced on September 1, 2016. However, it is alleged that his guilty plea is part of a deal to cooperate with the US government, possibly including the FBI’s Clinton investigation. It has been reported that he will cooperate with the government in other investigations and be “reasonably available for debriefing and pre-trial conferences as the US may require.” He also has agreed to turn over any documents or other materials “that may be relevant to investigations or inquires.” (LawNewz, 5/25/2016)

May 26, 2016: A judge blocks the release of audio and video of six Clinton aide depositions, but not the transcripts.

US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan grants a recent request from Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills to keep audio and video recordings of her upcoming deposition from being made public, at least for now. Mills, who is due to be deposed one day later, argued that such recordings could be used for political purposes against Clinton in the presidential election.

Sullivan writes, “The public has a right to know details related to the creation, purpose and use of the clintonemail.com system. Thus, the transcripts of all depositions taken in this case will be publicly available. It is therefore unnecessary to also make the audiovisual recording of Ms. Mills’ deposition public.” On his own initiative, Sullivan blocks the release of all audio and video recordings of the five other former Clinton aides due to be deposed in the suit he is presiding over.

Politico reports, “Sullivan did not signal what his concern was about improper use of the videos, nor did he explain whether he agreed with Mills’ attorneys that the videos were more susceptible to misuse or distortion than the written transcripts that will be released.” Sullivan orders that the audio and video should be filed with the court, raising the possibility they could be released later. (Politico, 5/26/2016)

May 26, 2016: Justice Department lawyers are “wholly opposed” to Clinton being deposed in a civil suit related to her emails.

Justice Department lawyers oppose Judicial Watch’s request that Clinton give a sworn deposition. There are two closely related civil suits in which Judicial Watch has been granted the right of discovery, allowing them to depose witnesses. Six of Clinton’s former aides are already being deposed in the suit presided over by federal judge Emmet Sullivan.

Judicial Watch recently requested that Clinton be deposed in the other suit, presided over by federal judge Royce Lamberth. However, department lawyers argue that Lamberth should let the depositions in the other case play out before allowing Clinton to be deposed in his case. They call the request “wholly inappropriate,” adding, “Judicial Watch makes no attempt here to justify why the witnesses it names would provide any relevant information that is not redundant and cumulative of the discovery that has already been ordered and initiated.”

However, while they oppose Clinton being deposed, they do not oppose Judicial Watch’s request to depose former Clinton aide Jake Sullivan. So far, Judicial Watch has not asked for Clinton or Sullivan to be deposed in the other suit. (Politico, 5/27/2016)

May 27, 2016: Cheryl Mills is deposed under oath, but frequently fails to answer questions.

Cheryl Mills speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting 2012. (Credit: Clinton Global Initiative)

Cheryl Mills speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting 2012. (Credit: Clinton Global Initiative)

Clinton’s former chief of staff Cheryl Mills is deposed by Judicial Watch as part of civil lawsuit presided over by US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. She is questioned for seven hours, with eleven other lawyers present, including four Justice Department lawyers assisting Mills.

The deposition is contentious, with Judicial Watch lawyers frequently arguing with Mills’ lawyer Beth Wilkinson and State Department lawyers. Mills has also worked as one of Clinton’s lawyers at times (though not while Clinton was secretary of state), and Wilkinson often objects to questions on the grounds of attorney-client privilege between Mills and Clinton. For instance, Mills fails to answer any questions about the sorting and deleting of Clinton’s emails in late 2014, when Mills was one of Clinton’s lawyers who performed that task. Mills also doesn’t answer many questions about Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano. (LawNewz, 5/31/2016) (Politico, 5/31/2016) (Judicial Watch, 5/31/2016)

Mills is frequently forgetful or uncertain with her answers. The New York Post calculates she says “I can’t recall” 40 times and “I don’t know” 182 times. (The New York Post, 6/11/2016)

June 1, 2016: Pagliano will refuse to answer questions in his upcoming deposition.

Lawyers for Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano say he “will assert the Fifth Amendment and will decline to answer each and every question” when deposed by Judicial Watch as part of a civil suit on June 6.

Pagliano previously refused to speak to the House Benghazi Committee or Congressional investigators. However, it has been reported that he made an immunity deal with the Justice Department as part of cooperating with the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

Also, despite the fact that Pagliano plans on not answering any questions, his lawyers also ask that no video recording of his deposition be made. US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has already ruled that videos of the deposition should be put under seal. However, Pagliano’s lawyers argue there still could be a chance a video could be released later. (Politico, 6/1/2016) (The Hill, 6/1/2016)

Two days later, Sullivan announces that Pagliano’s deposition will be postponed until issues about his pleading the Fifth are resolved. Sullivan has asked Pagliano’s lawyers to reveal the scope of the immunity deal between Pagliano and the Justice Department, and how that could affect this civil case. There are different types of immunity deals, and until now it hasn’t been clear which type applies to Pagliano. (Politico, 6/3/2016) (The Hill, 6/3/2016)

June 1, 2016: More emails relating to Clinton and the Clinton Foundation will be publicly released.

US District Court Judge Ketanji Jackson (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / The National Law Journal)

US District Court Judge Ketanji Jackson (Credit: Diego M. Radzinschi / The National Law Journal)

US District Court Judge Ketanji Jackson orders USAID [The US Agency for International Development] to make public more Clinton-related emails.

In December 2015, The Republican National Committee (RNC) filed two Freedom of Information Act requests to USAID. One was for all emails between the 16 top USAID officials and a number of web domains related to Bill, Hillary, or Chelsea Clinton, or the Clinton Foundation. The second was for all emails between those top USAID officials and ten former State Department officials considered close to the Clintons.

Eight hundred pages of emails matching the request will be made public by July 11, 2016. USAID says it needs to consult with the State Department regarding another 2,600 pages. Judge Jackson wants a timetable for the release of those, but that is still to be determined.

Politico reports, “The requests appear to focus on Clinton critics’ claims that the activities of the Clinton Foundation and of some former aides to the Clintons improperly influenced official business at the State Department and USAID.”

Jackson was appointed by President Obama. (Politico, 6/1/2016)

June 7, 2016: Pagliano is revealed to have received a limited immunity that leaves him open to prosecution.

Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano files a copy of his immunity deal with the Department of Justice as part of a civil suit presided over by US District Judge Emmet Sullivan. Pagliano asks that the deal remain secret, and Sullivan will agree to that several days later. However, in making the filing, Pagliano’s lawyers mention that he was granted “derivative use” immunity in December 2015.

LawNewz explains this form of immunity “does not prevent the government from prosecuting Pagliano, but just limits them from using any evidence derived from Pagliano’s testimony against him.” His lawyers are arguing that what he might say in a deposition in this court case could be used against him in the FBI’s Clinton investigation, despite the immunity deal. (LawNewz, 6/7/2016)

June 21, 2016: A judge puts a Clinton email lawsuit on hold while waiting on other cases.

Harold Koh (Credit: Jay Premack)

Harold Koh (Credit: Jay Premack)

In a civil lawsuit, Judicial Watch is trying to find out why two State Department officials didn’t search Clinton’s private email address in response to a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] request filed in December 2012. Judicial Watch claims the two officials—Legal Advisor Harold Koh and Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy—knew of the FOIA request and knew of Clinton’s email address, since both of them emailed Clinton sometimes. (Koh joined the department in mid-2013, a few months after Clinton left, but the FOIA request was still in process.)

Judicial Watch wants to be granted discovery, which means they would be able to depose the officials to question them under oath. However, US District Court Judge Reggie Walton puts the decision on hold because there are two other similar suits going on, including one in which Kennedy is due to be deposed by Judicial Watch at the end of June 2016.

Furthermore, Walton also notes a federal appeals court is currently considering a lawsuit unrelated to Clinton that tests the government’s obligation to search a private email account maintained by a department head in response to a FOIA request. (Politico, 6/21/2016) (Politico, 6/17/2016)

June 22, 2016: Clinton’s former computer technician Bryan Pagliano repeatedly pleads the Fifth in a sworn deposition.

Pagliano has been forcibly deposed by Judicial Watch in a civil suit presided by US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan. He originally was supposed to be deposed on June 6, 2016, but it was delayed after he revealed he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination, as well as arguments over the implications of his limited immunity given as part of a deal he made to cooperate with the FBI’s Clinton investigation.

As expected, he pleads the Fifth, doing so more than 125 times, according to Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. Fitton also says, “On many of the key issues, he took the Fifth. He took the Fifth even on questions about his resume.”

In addition, Pagliano’s lawyers reportedly object to many questions, saying they go beyond the scope of discovery permitted by Sullivan. Fitton says he hopes Sullivan will see Pagliano’s failure to answer any substantive questions as further evidence that Clinton’s private email server set up by Pagliano may have been designed to evade Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. (Politico, 6/22/2016)

June 28, 2016: A federal judge accuses the State Department of running out the clock on a FOIA lawsuit to politically protect Clinton.

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

US District Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

In 2010, military contractor BAE Systems pled guilty to violating US arms export control laws and regulations, and paid a $400 million fine to the US government. Then in 2011, it settled a civil suit on the same issue, paying an additional $69 million fine, but maintaining the right to receive US government contracts and export licenses. In August 2013, the Associated Press filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to learn more about what many call a “sweetheart deal,” and Clinton’s possible role in it as secretary of state. In March 2015, that turned into a FOIA lawsuit after the State Department only turned over three documents out of 13,000 pages responsive to the request.

On June 28, 2016, US District Court Judge Richard Leon says that the department’s recent assertion that it will take until mid-October 2016 to hand over the document is a non-starter due to the proximity to the November 8, 2016 general election. He says: “This case has been dragging on for a long time […] We’re now reaching a point of mounting frustration that this is a project where State is running out the clock. There’s no way I’m ever going to grant you an extension to mid-October because that would effectively run out the clock.” Leon wants to not only get the documents released before the election, but also to have them released by early September 2016 so there is time to litigate whether the department’s redactions are legally justified. He openly threatens penalties on the State Department and other departments if they don’t speed up working together to release the documents. (Politico, 6/28/2016)

 

August 19, 2016: A sailor is denied a ‘Clinton Deal’ and gets one year in prison for six photos of submarine.

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

Kristian Saucier (Credit: public domain)

On May 27, 2016, US Naval Machinist Kristian Saucier pled guilty for taking photos inside the attack submarine he had been working on. The case attracts attention due to its similarity to the Clinton email controversy.

According to US News and World Report, Saucier is sentenced on August 19, 2016 by a “federal judge rebuffing a request for probation in light of authorities deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on a private email server as secretary of state.”

Saucier’s attorney Derrick Hogan argued in a court filing that Clinton had been “engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier with information of much higher classification.” Hogan also stated, “It would be unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid.”

US District Judge Stefan R. Underhill (Credit: Hearst CT News)

US District Judge Stefan Underhill (Credit: Hearst CT News)

Saucier is sentenced by US District Judge Stefan Underhill to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service, and a ban on owning guns. Prosecutors had asked for six years in prison.

Greg Rinckey, another defense attorney for Saucier,   says he isn’t sure if the judge was affected by the media attention comparing Saucier’s case with Clinton’s email controversy. However, he states Underhill “cryptically made some comments about selective prosecution and how that didn’t play any factor. … Do I think it may have? Sure. But I think there was enough mitigation that the judge was able to depart from the sentencing guidelines [on that basis alone].” (US News & World Report, 08/19/16)

September 19, 2016: A judge gives the State Department a tongue-lashing over its slow response to FOIA requests.

US District Court Judge Richard Leon criticizes the State Department over what he calls “foot-dragging” regarding Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests relating to Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

160919JudgeLeonpublic

US DC District Court Judge Richard Leon (Credit: public domain)

Leon warns Justice Department lawyers, “You have a client that, to say the least, is not impressing the judges on this court, myself included. … It is in your client’s interest to start being more obviously cooperative. The State Department is at risk of being perceived as obstreperous. [They] need to get with the program.”

The hearing is due to a FOIA lawsuit trying to force the release of documents on whether Clinton and her aides were trained to handle classified information. The State Department propose a deadline of October 17, 2016 to produce about 450 unclassified documents relating to the issue sought by the Daily Caller.

However, Leon orders the department to process and release of the records by October 10, 2016. (Politico, 09/19/16)