A panel of three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled unanimously on Friday that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not have to sit for a deposition regarding her intentions with using a private email server for government business, after all.
What are the details?
In March, a district court judge ordered Clinton to appear under oath to answer questions for a lawsuit brought by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, saying that her previous written responses "left many more questions than answers."
But Clinton appealed the decision, and the appeals court agreed, issuing a ruling saying that she has already explained her reasoning before Congress and to Judge Emmet Sullivan — the judge who refuses to drop charges against Gen. Michael Flynn — and therefore "the deposition of Secretary Clinton, if allowed to proceed, at best seems likely to stray into topics utterly unconnected with the instant FOIA suit, and at worst could be used as a vehicle for harassment or embarrassment."
Judicial Watch also asked to depose Cheryl Mills, Clinton's former chief of staff at the State Department, and that deposition will be carried out.
The Washington Examiner explained:
Judicial Watch wants to question Clinton and Mills about the talking points for former United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice's appearances on television shows following the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Members of Ansar al Sharia launched a coordinated assault on Sept. 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Clinton, Rice, and others incorrectly blamed the attack on a YouTube video.
The appeals court noted on Friday that Clinton had been long gone by the time the State Department conducted its FOIA-related email search and pointed to the fact that "several executive agencies and a House Select Committee have conducted inquiries" into Clinton's use of a private email server and that Clinton had "also provided eleven hours of public testimony before the House Select Committee" and "has answered countless media inquiries on the matter.
The basis of the lawsuit all stems from a 2014 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from Judicial Watch, seeking "documents related to the Benghazi attack in 2012 that killed four Americans went unanswered," the Washington Times reported.
In its decision Friday, the appeals court echoed an assertion made by Clinton and Mills' attorney, David Kendall, who argued that "the real purpose" of the depositions "is harassment."