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State Department Accused of Trying to Delay Final Clinton Email Release Until After First Four Primaries

Hillary Clinton is pictured on January 11, 2016 in Waterloo, Iowa. (AP)

The journalist whose lawsuit forced the release of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails filed a motion Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that the State Department's requested delay on its last release of more Clinton emails will mean that the U.S. voting public will be "irreversibly harmed."

Lawyers for Jason Leopold, a Vice News reporter, said in the motion that State's latest delay — which the agency blamed on Winter Storm Jonas — would push the final email release to Feb. 29.

That would be after Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina had all voted in their respective caucuses and primaries.

Originally, the judge on the case had ordered all of the emails released by Friday, Jan. 29 — just days before Iowa's Feb. 1 caucuses.

"Because of the momentum a candidate can garner by winning in early voting states, many other Americans outside these states may disengage from the Democratic primary process if a single candidate wins most or all of the early states, believing that candidate to be the inevitable nominee," the filing says. "Allowing State to delay the release of thousands of pages of a presidential candidate's work emails, especially when they have already garnered so much media and public attention, until after four states have voted and just hours before another 11 states and American Samoa will vote, would deny Mr. Leopold of the opportunity to realize the fruits of his year-long pursuit of these records which he and the public have a legal right under FIOA to obtain."

If the court grants the delay, a "substantial portion" of U.S. voters will be forced to make their electoral decisions without information they're entitled to about one of the leading candidates, the lawyers argued.

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